The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission, responsible for advising the City Council in all matters related to the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, is in the process of recruiting three new members. The Rent Stabilization Commission is different from other city bodies in that it has specific categories for different commissioners.
The commission is composed of two landlord members, two tenant members, two at-large members and one alternate member from each of the three categories. Their collective job is to inform rent stabilization policies that fairly address the needs of renters and property owners.
Applications recently closed for a landlord vacancy and a tenant vacancy, while applications will soon open for an at-large member to fill the spot currently held by Chair Lou Milkowski.
Milkowski was recently selected from a pool of nine applicants to serve on the city’s Planning Commission once longtime Commissioner Peter Ostroff’s term concludes on Dec. 31.
Appointments for all three Rent Stabilization openings will be made by City Council in future meetings. Candidates must be residents of Beverly Hills for at least two years prior to filing an application.
For the at-large commissioner position, Milkowski told the Courier he thinks it’s essential that candidates have a thorough understanding of the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) and are prepared to analyze and balance the perspectives of landlords and tenants.
“They need to be fair and they need to see both sides,” he said. “They need to look beyond whatever their background is because everybody has some sort of bias depending upon what their life experiences are.”
“And they need to know what is best for Beverly Hills,” he added.
Most multifamily rental properties—meaning they contain two or more residential units—are subject to the city’s RSO. There are exemptions for hotels, most condominiums and newer properties.
The RSO comprises Chapters 5 and 6 of the Beverly Hills Municipal Code.
Chapter 5 applies to all units in multifamily properties built up until 1978 that are currently rented for $600 or less. Chapter 6 applies to all other multifamily properties that were first leased any time up until 1995.
Both chapters outline complex regulations for maximum allowable rent increases, evictions, additional tenant surcharges, remodeling and landlord pass-throughs of costs related to water reliability, seismic retrofit, refuse and annual registration.
“What I would look for in an applicant is somebody who understands all of that and is prepared to work in, what I would consider, a heady environment,” said Milkowski.
Despite the complicated nature of the commission’s work and the sometimes-long hours required for meetings, Milkowski strongly recommends that residents consider applying for the vacant at-large commissioner position.
“When you have public comment and you get to listen to, evaluate and analyze what someone is saying, it gives you the feeling of participating in our community,” he said. “Something I’ve always strongly held is that giving back to your community, to a community that you love and that you want to be part of, is an important part of life.”
More information about commission vacancies and applications can be found at beverlyhills.org/cityclerk/howtobecomeacommissioner/currentcommissionvacancies/