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Long Beach mulls raising fines on negligent landlords

Long Beach City Councilwoman Fran Adelson said stiffer

Long Beach City Councilwoman Fran Adelson said stiffer penalties for negligent landlords who have failed to make repairs "might induce the owner to expedite the work." (2011) Photo Credit: David Pokress, 2011

Long Beach leaders are considering cracking down on negligent landlords by quadrupling the fine for failing to make repairs, to $1,000 per day.

A proposal set for an Aug. 6 vote would change city codes so the city could levy the fine against owners and managers of buildings with three or more units, city officials said.

Currently, the city can only charge a $250 in fines per day for failing to comply with building codes.

"Low fines are not an inducement to doing the work fast," said City Councilwoman Fran Adelson. "If there was a stiff penalty, that might induce the owner to expedite the work."

City officials announced the proposal Wednesday outside 10 Monroe Blvd., a seven-story, 104-unit apartment building near the city's oceanfront beach. The building suffers from faulty elevators, a leaking roof and crumbling interior walls, tenants said.

The building is owned by Samson Management of Queens, which owns more than 5,000 apartment units and 1.5 million square-feet of retail and office space in four states. Representatives for the company did not return calls seeking comment.

Samson Management has received six summonses for the condition of the building since May and paid $200 in fines, city officials said. The company has pledged to fix a broken elevator in the building within four weeks, officials said.

Tenant Darlene Harakal, who said she pays $1,630 per month for a one-bedroom, top-floor apartment, said she believes stiffer fines would help.

Harakal, 73, said she has asthma and it's not safe for her to walk up seven flights of stairs when the elevators aren't working.

"It's bad," she said. "Hold them accountable."

The measure is scheduled for a vote at Tuesday's City Council meeting at 7 p.m. at Long Beach City Hall, 1 West Chester St.

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