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Residents of a Westwood retirement community who have been fighting eviction notices will not have to vacate the property until November, not April as originally expected, officials with the management company said Wednesday.
Officials from Watermark Retirement Communities said residents were originally given notices in November that they had to vacate Vintage Westwood Apartments, 947 Tiverton Ave., within 120 days, but residents have actually been given until November to move out.
Watermark officials said erroneous information has been circulated regarding the planned $50 million renovation of the building and the eviction of residents to accommodate the work.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz has been leading the charge to try to stop the evictions, and on Tuesday introduced a motion asking the Housing and Community Investment Department to consider labeling the facility a residential hotel, which he said would prevent Watermark from using the Ellis Act to evict the residents.
A spokeswoman for Watermark, Laura Mecoy, told City News Service only 65 residents live at the facility, not the 120 to 150 that has been reported in various media accounts and by Koretz. A worker who answered the phone at the apartments said roughly 60 to 80 residents live there.
Koretz’s office did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Watermark officials also challenged Koretz’s characterization that the renovations would turn the facility into a “luxury” retirement home. The company contended the facility is currently an “unlicensed, senior residential community” that does not provide any health care services.
“Upon completion of the renovation, Westwood Horizon will be a licensed residential care facility for the elderly that will offer additional senior living options, including assisted living and memory care,” according to the company.
Watermark also insisted that existing residents will be able to return to the renovated building at the same rent they are currently paying. Residents will also be paid up to $19,700 per unit for moving costs — an amount required under the Rent Stabilization Act.
Koretz has been scathing in his criticism of Watermark, calling it a “greedy corporation.” He also in December started a pressure campaign by publicly releasing the names and contact information of Watermark’s top officials and asking supporters to “pressure these faceless, heartless wheeler- dealers by calling, emailing and mailing to express your outrage.”
A December motion introduced by Koretz also asked multiple city departments to examine ways to stop the evictions.
–City News Service
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