Beverly Hills is poised to hold its first Rent Stabilization Commission meeting on June 3 at 7 p.m. The new City Commission was established last year to administer the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).
“Our rent stabilization is a critical part of our financial structure,” incoming Commission Chair Lou Milkowski told the Courier. Once sworn in, Milkowski, who represents one of two “at large” members on the six-member advisory body, will help lead the Commission in selecting its Vice Chair. There are also three additional alternate Commissioners, one each to represent landlords, tenants and at large members.
At the upcoming meeting, the new Commissioners will be advised of certain rules governing them as public officials as it pertains to the Brown Act and receive training on the RSO. At subsequent meetings, which are slated to take place the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m., the Commission will also be tasked with helping resolve residential landlord-tenant disputes triggered by the eviction moratorium as codified in the City’s Urgency Ordinance related to COVID-19.
Currently, two appeals related to the Urgency Ordinance’s eviction moratorium are slated to be decided by City Council liaisons Councilman Julian Gold and Councilman John Mirisch. According to Deputy Director of Community Development for Rent Stabilization Helen Morales, those are the first two appeals the City will decide.
“The at large members play, I think, the most significant role,” said Milkowski, who previously served on the City’s Traffic and Parking Commission alongside Councilwoman Lili Bosse and Councilman Gold. At large members cannot be landlords, tenants or property managers.
Following the initial appointment of Milkowski as Chair, which was made earlier this year by the City Council, subsequent Chairs shall rotate between the two at large members.
The Vice Chair, which the Commission is expected to select at Wednesday evening’s meeting, shall rotate between a landlord member and a tenant member. Landlords are defined as residents who own one or more multi-family residential buildings within the City.
“We’re kind of the balancing factor,” Milkowski said of the at large Rent Stabilization Commissioners, who neither rent units within the City of Beverly Hills nor serve as landlords. “We have to present the arguments and advocate what is right, bringing fairness to both sides. We’re kind of the arbiters that will hopefully bring consensus to sides in a reasonable manner.”
At Large Members include Milkowski (Chair), Donna Tryfman and Ryan D. Gurman (alternate). Landlord Members are Remmie Maden, Neal Baseman and Frances E. Miller (alternate). Tenant Members are Kathryn Cavanaugh, Gwendolyn Owens and Kathy Bronte (alternate).
Milkowski underscored the importance of deftly mitigating landlord-tenant disputes, particularly in this time of extreme economic uncertainty. The City Council this month stated that it plans to amend its Urgency Ordinance to focus on commercial eviction protections in June. However, such changes are not expected to measurably impact the purview of the Rent Stabilization Commission, which is tasked with mitigating residential disputes.
“Obviously you have to balance the tenant’s rights versus the landlord who also has his bill to pay,” Milkowski told the Courier. “We certainly don’t want to let any of our apartments be left to deteriorate.”
The June 3 meeting will be virtual and broadcast on Beverly Hills Television (Spectrum Channel 10) and available at beverlyhills.org/live.