Elderly residents won't be evicted from Westwood apartment building

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There has been a big victory for a group of seniors fighting eviction from their Westwood retirement home.

Nearly 50 elderly residents -- many of them disabled and approaching 100 years of age -- were served notices last December and told they had only a matter of months to get out.

"Who the heck wants to be evicted at age 100?" said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, who met with residents of the Vintage Westwood Apartments shortly after the notices were served in December.

"It couldn't be more outrageous. (It's) probably the largest senior citizen mass eviction in the country's history. I've never heard of anything like this."

The owner of the building wanted to renovate and turn the residence into a luxury assisted living community, but the city has now designated the building a "residential hotel," which prevents the residents from being moved out of the building.

Watermark Retirement Communities, the company that manages the building, claims the residential hotel designation will do nothing but prevent residents from receiving a "generous settlement package" that guaranteed they could return to the building after the planned renovations were completed.

"We still believe that Westwood Horizons is not a residential hotel, and we will appeal the determination," the company's president, David Barnes, said in a statement.

Despite the new designation, renovations to the building must still take place. "The building is in a serious state of disrepair and basic life safety systems must be immediately addressed," said Barnes.

The company maintains that residents need to temporarily be relocated so that the necessary renovations can be completed.

One resident who will soon be 102 years old said she's glad she won't have to move.

"This is a wonderful place," said resident Ruth Frank. "It's a place for living, not leaving and we're all very, very happy here."
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