More than 150 disabled residents of a Westwood senior apartment complex are facing an uncertain future Friday after their landlord threatened to evict them.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz met Thursday evening with residents of the Vintage Westwood Apartments at 947 Tiverton Ave. to offer his support. The building’s occupants received eviction notices recently from Watermark Retirement Communities, which owns the facility, stating residents must vacate their units by April 27.
Under the Ellis Act, owners are legally allowed to remove units from the rental housing market under certain conditions, according to Koretz’s office. The owners have plans to remodel and convert the building to a luxury state- licensed residential elder-care facility, and Watermark has cited the temporary cutoff of utilities along with the disruptive construction as reasons for the evictions, which Koretz has vowed to fight.
“The vulnerable seniors in this building have created a community and these evictions will destroy it and put them out on the streets,” Koretz said. “Their current units are much more affordable than Watermark’s future `elder- care’ facility is likely to be and they have no place to go in the meantime. The senior facilities in L.A. are all booked up.”
He added, “The law may allow Watermark to do this but it’s still the wrong thing to do and I can’t support it. I’ve called on the city’s Housing Department and city attorney to carefully review the situation to see if there are mechanisms available to delay or stop it.”
Meanwhile, many of the building’s residents expressed dismay at Watermark’s move.
“They should have a heart,” Joseph Goldfarb, 99, a Holocaust survivor who spent three years in a concentration camp, told KABC. “To do something to people like this … 95-year-old people in wheelchairs, people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
In a statement to CBS2, Watermark officials said “the vast majority of residents will be eligible for extensions, allowing up to one year before relocating. We recognize the fact that this news has a great impact on residents, families and associates and pledge to support them throughout the process.”