Is this story familiar? You wake up on a holiday like Presidents Day. Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy the peace & quiet. Two guys hop out of an unmarked junk van with a contractor’s saw and a stack of plywood and set up shop on the front lawn. With loud banging they begin to remodel an apartment in the building. Who do you call on a weekend or holiday when city hall is closed?
The short answer: call the cops. Construction is not allowed on Presidents Day or any other federal holiday and it’s not allowed on weekends either without a special ‘after-hours’ permit. The municipal code is clear:
No person shall engage in construction, maintenance or repair work which requires a city permit between the hours of six o’clock (6:00) P.M. and eight o’clock (8:00) A.M. of any day, or at any time on a Sunday or a holiday unless such person has been issued an after hours construction permit…. — B.H.M.C. 5–1–205
For the record the holidays during which construction is not allowed in Beverly Hills without a special permit:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents Day
- Memorial Day.
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Yom Kippur.
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- The Friday following Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
The prohibition on construction applies on Saturday too in multifamily areas.
Yet we see landlords undertake construction on weekends or holidays because either they aren’t aware of the prohibition or they simply don’t care. And they get away with it because tenants aren’t informed about the law and the city doesn’t crack down on scofflaws who are caught.
Why Work on a Holiday?
Why would workers descend on a weekend or holiday? We can only speculate but perhaps it’s because building inspectors are generally off on the weekend and on holidays.
Unpermitted work may go without getting flagged for a violation on off-days. When a neighbor calls code enforcement on a weekend or holiday, nobody is there to take the call. Also some landlords work on-the-cheap: the hire low-cost laborers. This kind of truck is a giveaway.
A beat-up van with no branding or commercial registration probably indicates an unlicensed contractor. Unlicensed contractors are also likely to be less concerned with permits or allowed working hours.
Last year Renters Alliance succeeded in getting the city to expand construction restrictions to all federal holidays. If we all do our part to report violations then landlords may finally get the message that they can’t undertake work on weekends or holidays or work without a permit (if one is required) on any day of the year. Do you have a concern about holiday construction? Get in touch with Renters Alliance!