West Hollywood Working with Landlords to Reduce Earthquake Retrofitting Costs

Posted April 3, 2019, under Blog

There’s good news for building owners in West Hollywood.

The City of West Hollywood announced Monday they will be looking into several options to reduce the costs to landlords of retrofitting vulnerable apartment buildings in the area.

The city recently joined the likes of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and more municipalities throughout Southern California to identify and retrofit all vulnerable multi-unit structures in order to protect residents and neighborhoods from significant earthquake damage.

In WeHo, the Hollywood fault line runs through the famous Sunset Strip and some of the buildings on the list include historical landmarks like Andaz West HollywoodMondrianStandard and Sunset Tower.

In 2018, City Council passed a mandate requiring the inspection and retrofit of all at-risk residential buildings in the area.  So far, 705 residential buildings in West Hollywood have been identified as vulnerable structures and more susceptible to damage and collapse from an earthquake.

“One good shaker without seismic reinforcements could bring many of those buildings into being red-tagged and having to be demolished — thus wiping out a good portion of our affordable housing stock,” Mayor Pro Tempore John Duran said (via the L.A. Times) about their mandatory retrofit task last year. “To me, this is about infrastructure repair and maintenance.

The city also voted against passing the costs of these retrofits – especially in rent-stabilized units – to their tenants.

In an effort to ease fears and keep the city’s rent-stabilized apartment buildings available in the area, West Hollywood is working to secure funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help cover some of the costs of these retrofits, thus reducing the fees the city will be charging for building permits and changing the way owners of these rent-stabilized buildings can increase in rent beyond city permits each year.

As it stands, West Hollywood is applying for a $5 million grant from a FEMA program that aims to help communities create systems that will reduce the risk death and destruction in the face of future natural disasters.

If the grant is accepted, the city will begin offering rebates for retrofitting design and construction costs to owners of soft-story structures. West Hollywood has also submitted a second application for a FEMA grant of $10 million that would apply to all vulnerable structures in the city’s mandatory seismic retrofit ordinance.

If you own a wood-frame apartment building, otherwise known as a soft-structure, contact Julian Construction and we’ll conduct a free inspection for you.

Now more than ever it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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