156 South Reeves: Another Case Study in Neglect and Hazard

Beverly Hills landlord Stephen Copen’s properties are often an object lesson to fellow landlords: When we neglect to repair our residential rental property the inevitable result will be deterioration, decay, and ultimately, a hazard we visit upon our community. That’s the lesson we can all take from 156 South Reeves today. Just take a look at that overhead garage door that fronts on Charleville. It has deteriorated so significantly that it now sags and menaces passersby with exposed, rusty nails. How did it come to this?

Landlord Stephen Copen can’t say he wasn’t warned about his property at 156 Reeves. One year ago we reported a variety of code violations that the city then enforced. The city received compliance on a number of issues which included:

  • Deteriorating or peeling paint BHMC § 5–7–4(b)
  • Trees and shrubbery growing uncontrolled without proper pruning BHMC § 5–7–4(d)(4)
    Lumber, junk, trash, debris, or salvage materials maintained upon premises BHMC § 5–7–4(h)
  • Abandoned, discarded, or unused furniture, stoves, sinks, toilets, cabinets, or other household fixtures BHMC § 5–7–4(i)
  • Accumulation of dirt, litter, or debris in vestibules, doorways on the premises, or adjoining walkways. BHMC § 5–7–4(m)

In that complaint we called out problems with exterior maintenance because many aspects of the property appeared to violate this criterion for proper maintenance: “walls, fences, driveways, or walkways which are cracked, broken, defective, deteriorated, in disrepair, or defaced” (B.H.M.C. section 5–7–4(o)).

Beyond the flaking paint around the property, it was clear that the garage doors at 156 Reeves were deteriorating. Here is the view from the alley one year ago.

156 Reeves Garage October 2018

Landlord Copen make some minor repairs but took no action on the garages. So propped open they sag. That was the case with the garage that fronts on Charleville. We reported them last March. And because nothing was done by the landlord we again followed up with an amended complaint recently. And we called-out the deteriorated state of the garage.

156 S Reeves garage March and October 2019
What a difference a few months makes when deterioration is neglected to save a few cents. Now it’s a hazard and public safety issue. Shame on Copen for treating my neighborhood — and his tenants — this way.

156 Reeves garage October 2019

156 Reeves garage October 2019 side view
This is a hazard because there is no setback from the front property line for the garage. It opens onto the sidewalk so this cracked and hanging support brace could snag someone who is passing by. Get a look at those rusty nails. Nasty!

Who could have missed this? Copen’s resident property manager lives just across the street. Copen himself visits this property now and again. Should it really take a code complaint to get this landlord to maintain it?

Update: Landlord Stephen Copen fixed the problem in exactly the way I would expect: not by repairing the garage door but by having a handyman hack off the part of the support bracket that hanged down. Of course there are still exposed screws visible!

156 Reeves garage hack

156 Reeves garage door hack detail

Update #2: Copen finally got around to repairing both garage doors by Mid-November: one year and three complaints later.

156 Reeves garage door is fixed!
November 15, 2019. All better!