This post was updated Feb. 9 at 2:20 p.m.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz introduced a motion Tuesday to prevent more than 100 senior residents from being evicted at the Vintage Westwood Horizons retirement community.
Koretz’s motion calls on the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department to determine whether the building should be designated a residential hotel, which would make the property ineligible for evictions and require an alternative to renovations, according to a press release published Tuesday.
A residential hotel is an apartment complex without fixed contracts.
Watermark Retirement Communities, a company based in Arizona, bought the retirement community on Tiverton Avenue in October and will renovate the building so it can become a regulated health care center. Watermark told its residents in December they would have to move out of their units in time for the renovation.
Watermark also plans to change the use of the building from residential to commercial, according to the press release.
Watermark President David Barnes said he thinks the building does not qualify for the residential hotel designation, which is aimed at preserving low-income housing.
“Regardless of the designation, the 50-year-old building is in a serious state of disrepair and requires a much-needed renovation and seismic upgrade,” Barnes said.
After meeting with the residents, Westwood Horizons extended the eviction deadline from March to November 2017.
Koretz met with residents last week to discuss the eviction order.
“From the start, I have done everything in my power to ensure these residents have a chance to stay in their homes,” Koretz said. “I introduced the motion, which I believe can provide them with additional protections.”
Koretz requested the department determine whether the building should be classified as a residential hotel within two weeks, according to the press release.
Shortly after Watermark sent eviction notices to the residents in December, Koretz introduced a motion to the City Council asking the city attorney’s office and other city officials to look into the legality of Watermark’s actions.
“The health and safety of these seniors must be protected while keeping their living arrangements intact,” Koretz said. “After careful consideration, I’ve concluded the residential hotel designation can be the most effective tool in achieving that end.”
Koretz is working alongside the city attorney’s office and Bet Tzedek, the nonprofit law firm now representing more than half the residents, according to the press release.
“Together we move forward in our efforts to protect the safety and well-being of the senior residents,” Koretz said.