Beverly Grove rent-controlled apartments to be demolished

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Residents of 11 Beverly Grove apartments are being told to move out or face eviction in order to make way for plans to raze the homes and turn them into condos. (KABC)

For 18 years, Steven Luftman has lived in what he considers a dream apartment in Beverly Grove: a two-bedroom with rent under $1,800 a month.

His bubble burst, however, when he recently received the papers for his eviction. Almost all of the 11 units in his complex are now empty, set for demolition to make way for new condos.

"I have faith in miracles that he (the owner) will change his mind," Luftman said.

Luftman is one of the 65 percent of Los Angeles residents who rent. The number of people ousted is on the uptick and so are the protests.

Yet, more development is just what Los Angeles needs, says Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who heads the council's housing committee.

"Every day, for example, 650,000 people come to work in downtown Los Angeles. We need housing for them, so that we can reduce the commute (and) improve our environment," Cedillo said.

Cedillo adds that the Ellis Act provides protections for tenants. Under the Ellis Act, the owner must pay ousted tenants the cost to relocate. It also forbids the owner from flipping the building and raising rents.

The owner of the Beverly Grove units, Matthew Jacobs, is converting the complex into condos to fit in more units, which will house more people. Jacobs is also the chairman of the California Housing Finance Agency.

"A robust housing market will bring down prices, that's the way the market works. We need supply," Cedillo said.

Luftman wants to keep his affordable apartment as is. He calls Jacobs a hypocrite for leading a government housing agency.

The California Housing Finance Agency defended Jacobs' record.

"Jacobs has fully supported the mission of the Agency ... to increase affordable rental housing throughout the state so more Californians have a place to call home," said Eric Johnson, the agency's spokesman.

Luftman still holds hope.

"I wake up in the morning and I hold the walls. Don't do it. Don't do it," he said.

Related Topics:
realestateaffordable housinghousingrental propertyrentersBeverly GroveLos Angeles
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