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Council Hears Plight of Rent Control Tenants Facing Eviction

Long-time Beverly Hills residents could lose their apartment after 24 years of residency due to a technicality in the city's rent stabilization ordinance.

A senior citizen couple is facing eviction from their apartment based on a technicality in Beverly Hills' rent stabilization ordinance, the City Council learned Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of Parker and Jean West, attorney and former Beverly Hills Mayor Mark Egerman detailed the couple's struggle to keep their apartment at 420 S. Doheny Drive after nearly 24 years of residency. Egerman, who was accompanied by the couple at the podium in Council Chambers, urged council members to "study the issue to ensure that ordinances enacted to protect senior citizens on limited income are not circumvented in any way."

The Wests have fought a legal battle with two property owners since 2009, Egerman said. In the latest round of legal wrangling, the property owners have issued an eviction notice centered around the issue of "comparability." After recent renovations added a bathroom to the couple's unit and additional kitchen space to a neighboring apartment, there is a lack of comparability, the owners claimed. This negates the couple's rent-control standing under the city's rent stabilization ordinance, paving the way for the current owners to move into the disputed unit.

City Attorney Larry Wiener said his office and other city staff personnel are studying the issue and will make a determination on the matter in "several days" or "several weeks."

Council members agreed to put the issue on their next meeting agenda for further public discussion. The next council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21.

"Mr. and Mrs. West, we are so sorry for your predicament, and as a city we take this responsibility very seriously so you will have our full, undivided attention," Mayor Barry Brucker said. 

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Erin Brock February 09, 2012 at 12:05 AM
It seems that there may be two sides to this story. I would sure appreciate hearing from the property owners. Rent control can be a thorny issue. When I was a young, naive college student, I loved it, since I could live cheaply in a place that I otherwise couldn't afford, but as an owner, it doesn't seem right that I should not be able to collect a fair market value on my property, especially when all the other costs associated with owning and renting property (ie. property taxes, repairs, costs, water bills) are not reduced simply because rent control tenants are living in the property. Also, doesn't this article say the property owners are trying to move in to their property? It seems like that should be allowed. After all, they own it, right?
J. O. Tobin February 09, 2012 at 04:54 PM
It is a sad commentary that with all the real problems we forcing upper middle class building owners to subsidize middle class renters. I mean folks this is Beverly Hills. I mean not everyone can afford to live in BH but this is not societies problem.
Jennifer Brugger February 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
J.O. Tobin... What middle class? Thanks to our national government, you’re either rich or poor these days and that includes in Beverly Hills. The problem is that there appears to be some very antiquated thinking in this city government; or maybe just residue from a historical city run by the rich and the famous, who might I add, are trying so hard to save Bosnian refugee camps abroad or inoculating babies in Burma that they’ve forgotten to look in their own backyard. I believe the problem could be aided by adding some youthful, diverse, discussion groups that can work with the city council to research and dive into some of the issues that are missed or are perhaps set aside for the future by our busy council. Two weeks ago the city council meeting spent two hours discussing the city historical preservation ordinance, which is very important, but… meanwhile renters are losing their homes to condo conversions or like these people above. Why hasn’t this already been taken care of? Why does it take so long to have something brought to the table? Is it just me or is there less importance put on the issues that affect those that are less fortunate. I want to help.
joninla February 12, 2012 at 07:03 AM
How tragic FOR THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS. The poor leaders of the City .... Had there only been brought to their attention at some point sooner than now, of course the City Could Have and Would Have prevented the eviction. Now all the City can do is cross their finger and hope/pray that relief will come from somewhere to save these poor old people. Let's hear it for the City. They could have turned their backs on the embarrassment of this sudden news that we can do nothing but watch as the BHPD hauls those old people and the stuff out and onto the street. IF ONLY - MY GOD - IF ONLY THE HAD KNOWN SOONER. BUT NOW LET ALL >>DOUBLE<< CROSS OUR FINGERS AS WE SIT AND WAIT TO SEE IF SOMEONE WHO CAN DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEIR PLIGHT AT THIS LATE AT DATE. OBVIOUSLY THE CITY HANDS ARE TIED, AT THIS LATE DATE. BUT THE CAN STILL DOUBLE CROSS AND HOPE FOR THE COUPLES BEST YEARS TO COME, albeit sadly with your friend an the people of BH who will miss them more than the evicted elderly homeless couple will be missing them. "CARING" is the the real way Beverly Hills is spelled.
Tim Warren February 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I know the whole story, if anyone care. The West's are opportunist looking for a free ride. Their attorney Mark Egerman is famous for suppressing evidence, non-disclosure of relationship or assocation, and using his former mayorship to have city employees do favors. How these two got together I have yet discovered. This "obscured" municipal code is not uncommon. As a matter of fact Mark Egerman uses this code when he renovate his own multi-income residentual properties. The famous of them all is lynnwood apartment, Westwood, Ca. They were offer $30,000 to move. They aquired their apartment with no deposit and rental increase when Parker West agree to do maintenance. This makes them not qualified for rent control. Parker been doing business in Beverly Hills for over 24 years. It was not until April 2009, under advisement of his attorney, Mark Egerman, did Parker filed for a business license. To avoid paying back taxes, fees, and penalties, he claim no prior business before April 2009. Complaints were filed but Egerman help to suppress any All that I have said I have documents to back it up.
joninla February 26, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Tim - I wish everyone would try to see through the superficial statements in any local matter, and as you have done, share the details about what is really going on behind the scenes when there is a stupid public statement about the local govt is looking in to the plight (here these senior residents). I don't know anything about the back story, but that kind of shared knowledeg, along with anyone who could add or make any known corrections, so that in the end there is a commonly known factual history with as much accuracy as possible, so that the response can't just cherry pick one error in a detail to dismiss the true big picture.
Donald February 27, 2012 at 07:55 PM
It’s funny, when you say the words Beverly Hills you assume rich. Well let me tell you there are people living here who are neither wealthy or celebrity types. I’ve lived in this city for over 30 years and by the way in a rent controlled apartment. The only thing I can say is thank you City of Beverly Hills for the ordinance because it has allowed normal people like myself to remain here. Unfortunately there are developers; speculators or just greedy people in the world who don’t care about the disruption a sudden move can be to a family, especially after you’ve established roots. Yes, the city needs to take a hard new look at the rent issues here in Beverly Hills and make them more fare. And just consider this. Let’s say I’m not under chapter 5, I’m under chapter 6; a landlord can give a tenant notice at any time to move out immediately (60 days) when they’re (a tenant) on month-to-month terms. What if I have a family, what if I work in this city as a clerk, schoolteacher? I can now be kicked out on a whim just for increased profit. What happened to loyalty to good tenants that pay on time keep up their unit and like the city and all it has to offer?
Tim Warren March 04, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Thank you for the reply to my posting. It was not everything that I would like to have posted. It had to be edited down to 1500 words. I just like to add some input to the West's legal problems. I really don't know where to start or explain it in a way to make sense. Just before their last lawsuit when to trial, it became apparent that the previous owner was setup. It is suspected that they had help from their counsel... they made it clear that as poor as the West's are, they was referred to their $600/hr counsel by a friend during a dinner party. Oh, by the way, even though overall there case is not 100% done with, they (West's) won $300,000 of which $140,000 has already been paid to Egerman. Here is some of their claim: • They had an exclusive oral rental agreement 22+ years ago that gave them rights to do anything. (CA. law saids oral agreements are not valid after 1 year.) • They claimed that renovations was done only to create hazardous and intolerable conditions just to drive out of their apartment. • They claimed that the previous owner had this guy commit assault & battery to Parker himself. (this guy was later found not guilt) • From day one, the West's had Nester's ph# (code enforcement) and telling lies and half truths. Like I said before, I have documents to backup what I have written
George Adams September 06, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Sounds like research before purchase may have been a good investment! An iteresting read considering we are looking at multi family investments in the area today.Thank you, for the heads up.

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