SoCalGas Tells Copen Tenants: It’s Up to You to Avoid a Shut-off

Here is the message that SoCalGas has for Dr. Stephen Copen’s tenants at 152 South Reeves: Pay up the $1,359 your landlord owes or we’ll shut off your gas. Helpfully this NOTICE TO TENANTS lets residents know that they could take this burden off the landlord by assuming “individual or joint responsibility” for the account (and then be on the hook for the money). Tenants could then deduct the arrears from the rent. Good luck with that!
Shutoff notice to 152 Reeves tenants (part)

The shut-off notice should come as no big surprise to any resident in his 12-unit apartment building. Maintenance has never been his priority. It took a couple of complaints to Code Enforcement to prompt his recent exterior primp-up at 152. But Renters Alliance can’t get him to pay the gas bill!

One aspect about this situation is worth highlighting: the gas company is an accommodating creditor. It gives Dr. Copen nearly month to pay the arrears (and he can make two easy payments). If only this landlord bestowed upon tenants the same grace and forbearance. We’ve heard cases where he gave his tenants a 3-day notice to pay-or-quit only a day after the rent is due. A day or two after than his quick-evict attorney Friedman then heads down to the courthouse to file the papers.

But you know, maybe we’re getting the guy all wrong. We welcome hearing from Copen tenants in any of his Beverly Hills properties. Just drop us a note.

  • 152 South Reeves
  • 156 South Reeves / 9415-9421 Charleville
  • 200 South Reeves
  • 201 South Reeves / 9428-9430 Charleville
  • 136 South Roxbury
  • 458-460 South Roxbury

Postscript: A call to SoCalGas made it clear that clearing the arrears is easier said than done. Once past the ridiculous phone menu, the tenant will learn that the arrears cannot be paid by tenants unless they also agree to take responsibility for the account. But non-public account information is needed in order to take that action (the account number is not sufficient). That suggests a call to the landlord: “Can you help us to pay your gas bill?”

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