Can city officials crack down on illegal warehouses without displacing tenants?

The fire-ravaged Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland (Credit: Getty)
The fire-ravaged Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland (Credit: Getty)

U.S. cities have been working to crack down on illegal warehouses following the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, but some housing rights activists are warning that the push could leave low-income tenants without homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer tried to dispel some of those fears, saying that his office would require such owners of unlawful properties to pay for evicted tenants to move.

If they’ve “been deriving revenue from tenancies that are unlawful or unsafe, they must find the money,” he told the Times.

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In Oakland, where the Ghost Ship fire killed 36 people, city officials are also being mindful of displacement.

“There’s a lot of evictions happening,” Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo said. “We’re trying to say, ‘Wait a minute, stop, we want to work with you as a property owner to bring your warehouse up to date. Follow the procedures, don’t throw the people out on the street.’ ”

No building code enforcement inspector had stepped foot inside Ghost Ship for at least 30 years, officials revealed. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen