The Challenge of Holding a Nuisance Landlord to Account

State law says that a tenant who is “maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance” on the premises has effectively terminated his lease. The landlord can petition the court for restitution of possession of the premises upon serving the tenant only a 3-day notice. It is an effective means of dealing with the nuisance and preserving the quiet enjoyment of the premises for both landlord and other tenants. But no provision in state law protects tenants when it is the landlord himself who is the nuisance!

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David Hockney’s ‘A Neat Lawn’: Local Apartment Captured in an Iconic Image

British artist David Hockney painted A Neat Lawn in 1967 shortly after moving to Los Angeles with boyfriend Peter Schlesinger. They were slumming nearby just off Pico Boulevard. It was “the worst place we lived in,” Hockney has said. Yet this period in the late 1960s was among Hockney’s most productive. Among his greatest works was this one that flattened the Southern California domestic landscape (and lifestyle) into an amalgam of colored bands. Hockney didn’t need to look far for his inspiration, though, as the pictured property, 1033 South Bedford, is only blocks from Pico. What can we take-away from A Neat Lawn?

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The Wheels Have Fallen Off the Rent Stabilization Commission

On the Rent Stabilization Commission’s March 3rd agenda was action item: relocation fees. Commissioners had earlier reached consensus on reducing the relocation fee but this fourth round of discussion was to nail down the many details yet to be decided. Just three minutes into the meeting, though, after the pledge and roll call, it came to an abrupt end. No business could be done because no tenant representative was on hand. This was the moment when the wheels finally came off.

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Term Limits for Beverly Hills: Why the Hurry?

Beverly Hills city councilmember John Mirisch has stood out as a champion of new ideas. He wants the city to provide land so that nonprofits can build senior housing. He wants developers to set aside one in every five new dwelling units as permanently affordable. He favors city hall transparency and disfavors city hall inefficiency. He will always hold Metro’s feet to the fire. So why do his fellow councilmembers want to kick him off the island?

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Stephen Copen Lays Down the Law: “Get off My Lawn!”

Let it be known that Beverly Hills landlord Stephen Copen threatened to call the cops on ‘Little Guy,’ an unprepossessing Shepherd-Chihuhua senior who has a penchant for sniffing lawns up and down Reeves Drive. His offense late on Saturday night: trespassing on Copen’s lawn at #152. Little Guy was guilty. And this wasn’t his first offense. So Copen’s phone came out and Little Guy and I had to make a getaway. But not before a frank exchange of views!

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Making the Means and Methods Plan Better: Our Recommendations

The city requires a means & method plan when construction will affect other tenants in a multifamily property. The plan discloses the nature of the work, identifies likely impacts, and proposes measures to mitigate impacts. But we hear from tenants that the means & method process is not protecting them. The process needs improvement and here is what we recommend to make it work better for tenants.

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The Winter of Our (Pandemic) Discontent

Seems like turnover in Beverly Hills residential rental housing is on the increase. Or maybe it’s just my neighborhood. After a spring and summer put on hold by the lockdown, I began to see ‘no parking’ signs pop up through the fall. Sometimes signs stacked one upon another. Moving vans occasionally doubled-up at the curb and always they seemed to haul-away furnishings but never deliver them. Is there an exodus underway?

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Solid Waste Rate Increase: An Open Letter to City Council

Dear Mayor Friedman and members of the city council: Before you is a recommendation to increase solid-waste rates over five years. A new solid waste collection contract is forcing the city’s hand and we fully expect you to approve the proposed rates. However it should be noted that the rates, if approved, will force multifamily customers to shoulder even more of the burden of covering the city’s residential solid waste collection cost. Here are some observations.

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Measure RP: Thoughts on the City’s ‘Tax Payer Protection Act’

Beverly Hills city council has placed on the November ballot a measure to conditionally add three-quarters of one percent to the sales tax IF Los Angeles County voters at some point in the future approve any increase. Dubbed by city council as the ‘Beverly Hills Tax Payer Protection Act,’ Measure RP would put our city a step ahead of the county by grabbing the resulting revenue. But the measure raises some questions about equity. In this time of unprecedented stress on county health and homelessness services, is it fair to put Beverly Hills first?

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Proposition 15: Yes to Funding for Communities and Schools

We support Proposition 15 on this November’s ballot because it would right an egregious wrong when voters passed Proposition 13 in 1978. That measure was sold on the premise it would limit property-tax increases for older homeowners. But the ballot measure did not distinguish between commercial and residential property, which allowed commercial property investors to surf the cresting wave of tax-revolt in California to a big score. Commercial property owners saw tax assessments rolled-back to 1975 levels and annual increases capped at 2%. It was a gift that’s been giving for four decades. Proposition 15 would force owners of commercial property to pay their fair share while shielding residential property owners from big increases.

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Renters Alliance Endorses Proposition 21

On the November ballot is Proposition 21, “The Rental Affordability Act.” Every tenant should support this ballot measure because it will roll back many, though not all, of the limits on rent control adopted by our landlord-friendly legislature in Sacramento. Nearly every pro-tenant bill each session is shot down by legislators who are not tenants and don’t understand tenant concerns. This by-the-people initiative bypasses the legislature to amend key sections of landlord-tenant law with rental affordability as the top priority. (Heck, it’s right there in the name.) Renters Alliance urges a YES vote on Prop 21!

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