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.