What’s closed, where you can go in LA amid coronavirus outbreak

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Beaches across Los Angeles County are closed. | Los Angeles Times

What are you allowed to do, and how are the city and county responding? Here’s a running list

Life in Los Angeles has sputtered to a halt as COVID-19 curbs the way Angelenos get around—and the places they visit. There’s no curfew and the region has not entirely shut down, but residents across the county have been told to venture outside only when necessary.

“I know that life feels fundamentally changed,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week. “But the deeper we abide by the rules, the quicker this can be over… everyone has to keep making these temporary sacrifices for the common good.”

New closures are announced almost daily as the outbreak grows. Below, we’re tracking the latest updates.

What are the basics?

Stay at home as much as possible. Only go outside for recreation and trips for food, medicine, and doctor’s appointments, or to help friends, family, and neighbors in-need. When outside of the home, practice social distancing, meaning keep six feet of separation between you and people not in your household. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also now advising that people wear face coverings while practicing social distancing.

I can still go outside?

Yes, officials have encouraged Angelenos to exercise and get fresh air. But too many people are venturing outside in groups, and away from their neighborhoods. That has prompted the closures of beaches and hiking trails.

“I understand that this is a huge sacrifice,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “But we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus. This closure is temporary and we can always reopen these beaches when it is safe to do so.”

So where should I go to fresh air?

Options are more limited now, but you can still stroll through your neighborhood and around local parks and reservoirs. Stay local and practice social distancing.

Social distancing dos and don’ts

  • Do: Go for walks and bike rides on paths that have not closed in your neighborhood—but don’t go in groups and keep your distance from others.
  • Do not: Visit friends and family, unless it’s urgent.
  • Do: Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others when you go out.
  • Do not: Gather in groups.
  • Do: Work from home.

How is this different from before?

There are more closures in place now than there were last week, as officials have toughened their “safer-at-home” orders, clamping down on gatherings outside of the home. Initially, the orders told residents to restrict gatherings to 10 people. Now, they’re saying: Do not gather at all.

Additionally, some of the orders to close nonessential businesses to the public only applied to retailers. Now, they apply to all nonessential businesses. Those businesses, however, are allowed to continue operating, as long as employees are working from home.

Where can I read the orders?

Los Angeles County and the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pasadena have enacted “safer-at-home” health orders.

LA County’s is here. The city of LA’s is here. The city of Long Beach’s is here. The city of Pasadena’s is here.

How long will these closures be in place?

Some local orders are set to expire April 19. Others are in place until “further notice.”

“Be prepared for a couple of months like this,” Garcetti said last week, as the number of new cases—and the death toll—is expected to keep climbing.

“All of us want to see things get back to normal, all of us,” he said. But, the mayor added: “The peak is not here yet… people will lose their lives.”

Los Angeles County Health Department Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has said it would be “foolish” to not prepare for a similar scenario as severe as New York or Italy, where the number of cases have accelerated rapidly.

“We’re asking every single resident in LA County to be prepared to isolate or quarantine,” she said.

What’s closed

  • All beaches in LA County: All public beaches, piers, beach parking lots, beach bathrooms, beach bike paths that “traverse sanded portions of the beach, and beach access points within the county of Los Angeles Public Health Jurisdiction” are closed. That includes state beaches. The city of Long Beach, which has its own health jurisdiction, has also closed its beaches and beach bike paths.
  • All public trails and trailheads in LA County: A revised order issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health encompasses every trail within its jurisdiction, which includes the vast majority of its 88 incorporated cities, excluding Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own public health departments. The order covers such popular hiking destinations as Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon, and Bronson Canyon.
  • Some farmers markets in the city of Los Angeles: They’re allowed to reopen, but only after submitting “safe operation” plans to the city’s street services bureau for approval. Those plans must detail how market operators will implement social distancing measures. A list of famers markets that have been allowed to reopen is here, and includes the Culver City Farmers Market, Venice Farmers Market , Hollywood Farmers Market, and Atwater Village Farmers Market.
  • Silver Lake Meadow
  • The Rose Bowl loop
  • Entrada Stairs
  • Palisades Park
  • Parking lots at state-owned parks, including Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, El Matador State Beach, Leo Carrillo State Park State Park, Los Angeles State Historic Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Malibu Lagoon State Beach State Park, Point Dume State Park, RH Meyer State Park, Topanga State Park, and Will Roger’s State Historic Park.
  • Tennis courts, skate parks, baseball fields, and basketball courts at city of Los Angeles-owned parks, which otherwise remain open for walking or running.
  • Roads and trails in Angeles National Forest, including Mt. Wilson, Icehouse Canyon Trail, and Sam Merrill Trail.
  • The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve
  • All nonessential businesses: They can keep running, as long as employees are working from home.
  • Museums: You can’t visit them in-person, but many local institutions, including some of country’s most renowned, are putting resources, educational materials, and exhibits online.
  • Restaurant dining rooms: Take-out and deliveries, however, are allowed—and even encouraged. Eater LA has compiled a running list of restaurants, by neighborhood, of restaurants with expanded delivery service.)
  • County of Los Angeles beach volleyball courts
  • Entertainment venues
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • Libraries
  • Playgrounds, except those located within childcare centers.
  • Golf courses

What’s open

  • Metro: But it’s running on reduced schedule due to a big drop in ridership.
  • City of Los Angeles parks: But “group sports and recreation” are prohibited, and some of the buildings within the parks—including the Griffith Observatoryare closed until April 4.
  • State beaches: While state beaches and trails are open, state campgrounds are closed.
  • Ride-hailing companies: It’s important to limit car trips right now—even in you personal car—but companies such as Uber and Lyft are still running. If you ride, be sure to wipe down commonly touched surfaces, such as seatbelts and door handles.
  • Grocery stores
  • Meal delivery companies, such as GrubHub and Postmates.
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Pharmacies
  • Food banks
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Banks
  • Hardware stores
  • Nurseries
  • Gas stations
  • The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles

Are there punishments for disobeying the order?

Health orders are legally-binding, meaning violators can be cited for a misdemeanor.

But elected officials in the city of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles said they will take a “light touch” to enforcement. They are asking residents to self-comply for the health and safety of the entire community.

The public can report out-of-compliance businesses at coronavirus.lacity.org/reportbusinessviolation.

The city manager of Santa Monica has also said that his first priority is also to educate the public. But he added: “It’s important for people to know that our local orders include the ability to fine individuals and businesses that do not abide voluntarily.”

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Construction still chugging along in LA amid pandemic

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An aerial photo of an under-construction stadium, with a dirt floor and visible beams. The NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood. | AP

But the mayor has warned: “We will not be shy about shutting down construction sites”

A crane hovered over Hollywood Boulevard this afternoon, hoisting bundles of plywood off of a flatbed truck that were strapped in by workers, some standing by side by side.

To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, construction is largely restricted in major cities such as New York and San Francisco. But in Los Angeles, it’s humming along on everything from mid-sized apartment complexes in Hollywood to the Frank Gehry-designed shopping complex on Bunker Hill to the $5 billion NFL stadium in Inglewood, where at least one worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week that he’s willing to shut down construction sites that are not taking new safety precautions—which include maintaining at least six-feet from others—seriously.

“We will not be shy about shutting down construction sites that do not comply, so comply,” he said.

Under new rules the mayor announced Tuesday night, construction companies working in LA are required to create “comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plans.” Those plans must incorporate roughly a dozen safety guidelines developed by the city’s department of building and safety.

The guidelines call on employers to provide personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face masks, “as appropriate” for certain jobs; to install hand-washing stations throughout work areas; and to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including shared tools and handrails.

The requirements are a direct response to some construction sites not taking proper safety precautions, the mayor said.

“Critical infrastructure projects like homeless shelters and housing should move forward,” Garcetti said. “But never at the expense of our workers’ health, never at the risk of anyone’s life.”

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that a construction worker at the SoFi Stadium construction site in Inglewood had tested positive for COVID-19 and another was “presumed positive.” In January, when the stadium’s owners announced the project was 85 percent complete, there were roughly 3,200 workers on site every day.

Workers told the Times that they were glad to have a good-paying job at a time when many are unemployed, but they also said they were worried greatly about being on a crowded job site.

Construction companies say compliance with the new guidelines won’t be an issue, because they’ve already put many of them in place.

Ninety-five percent of the city’s guidelines were already in place at R.D Olson job sites, says company president Bill Wilhelm. But he does note that it’s important to keep reminding workers of the rules.

“It’s not because they have a disregard for safety, but because a lot of us take a lot of things for granted,” like being able to share tools, Wilhelm says.

 By Jenna Chandler
The city’s new guidelines say compliance with COVID-19 rules will be be verified during regularly scheduled inspections.

In his announcement, Garcetti said sites would be checked daily for compliance. Asked how many active construction sites there are right now in the city of Los Angeles, the department of building and safety would not immediately provide a number. But tonight, the mayor said building and safety officials visited 1,912 construction sites on Wednesday.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the city issued nearly 178,000 building permits. According to the mayor’s website, that translates to $7.7 billion worth of construction projects.

Other cities in LA are also threatening to come down hard on those that aren’t taking the health of their workers seriously.

The city of Santa Monica beefed up its previously stated requirements for construction sites Wednesday, reminding workers and construction companies that not following rules about hygiene and social distancing measures could result in their construction site being shut down by the city’s building and safety division, which will have the authority to stop projects that are not following the rules.

Santa Monica officials also asked the public to file complaints if they observed construction sites not following the rules.

“We need all construction sites in Santa Monica to be good neighbors and to take all required steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said city manager Rick Cole.

Taking precautions will cause work to happen more slowly, says Steve Pellegren, an executive vice president at Bernards, a construction management company and builder.

Staggered start times, uni-directional stairwells, and social distancing are among the precautions that Bernards is taking on its projects, which includes the Martin Luther King Jr. Behavioral Center in Willowbrook.

“It certainly adds more time,” Pellegren says. “People are more careful, more thoughtful about how they move,” but he says it’s worth it if it means that construction can continue at all.

Wilhelm agrees. “It’s a very fair trade off, if we have to deliver [a project] a little bit late to make sure we can be safe and still keep people working,” he says.

LA rental prices fall for the first time in a decade

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Newer apartments are seeing the biggest price dips right now

It took a pandemic to make it happen, but Los Angeles rental prices appear to be on the way down for the first time since the Great Recession, according to a new report from real estate data tracker CoStar.

Between the first week of February and today, rental prices in LA fell from $2.51 per square foot to $2.49 per square foot, on average. That amounts to a roughly $15 price reduction for a 750-square-foot one-bedroom apartment.

It might not seem like much, but it’s the first significant decline in rental prices recorded in the Los Angeles area since 2010, the report says.

With hundreds of thousands of Angelenos now out of work, and nonessential workers ordered to stay at home, many renters are in need of more than a dip in prices.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week signed into law rules that temporarily block landlords from evicting tenants unable to pay because of the COVID-19 outbreak; they also bar landlords from raising rents in apartments covered by the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

According to CoStar, it’s newer apartments—which aren’t covered by LA’s rent control regulations—that are seeing the biggest price dips right now. Typical rents for these units fell by 0.75 percent between March 11 and March 30. If that trend continued over a full year, it would amount to a 12 percent drop in the monthly cost.

Brand new units in particular could be difficult for property managers to fill at a time when public health officials have urged residents to avoid contact with those they don’t live with, and stand at least six feet apart.

The report notes that prices for newly built apartments in the Downtown area were on the way down prior to the outbreak; rents there have declined 4 percent since the beginning of the year.

Rent reductions have varied significantly by neighborhood. In Hollywood, prices fell by 0.47 percent over the past two-and-a-half weeks. Over the same time period, rents in Pasadena and the South Bay fell more than 2 percent.

CoStar analyst Stephen Basham writes that “rents will continue to fall, and vacancies will rise in the short term,” but the longterm effects of COVID-19 on Los Angeles’s rental market are difficult to predict.

The sudden loss of income many residents are experiencing is likely to impact how much they’re able to pay moving forward. On the other hand, the region’s severe lack of affordable housing will continue to have an impact on prices.

“The coronavirus outbreak won’t fundamentally alter Southern California’s severe housing shortage, which continually tilts the playing field in favor of landlords and owners,” he writes.

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Fanciful 1930s Mediterranean Revival in Silver Lake asking $2.8M

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Stenciled beams, stained glass, turrets, arches, and alcoves

Located on the west side of the Silver Lake Reservoir, the Moreno Highlands tract was developed during the 1920s and 1930s by oil heiress Daisy Canfield and her husband, the Spanish-born silent film star Antonio Moreno. Though the enclave would become a bastion of modernist architecture, it was originally intended to be modeled after a Mediterranean hillside village.

Adhering to that original vision is this tile-roofed residence at 2466 Moreno Drive. Commissioned by T.E. Brendlinger, a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, it was built in 1933-34 for an estimated cost of $5,500.

An Old Hollywood take on Old Europe, the 2,951-square-foot home catches the eye despite being partly hidden behind a stucco wall, with a whimsical turret and grand rotunda entry. More theatrical details await inside, including hand-stenciled beams, a magnesite staircase, stained glass, wrought iron work, gothic archways and niches, a plaster fireplace, coved ceilings, colorful tile, and vintage light fixtures. Other appealing features include hardwood floors, French doors, and casement windows.

While the four-bedroom house retains a high degree of architectural integrity, it has seen a few changes, most notably in its kitchen and at least one of the three bathrooms.

Exterior spaces include a gated courtyard, a covered balcony, and grassy backyard.

Last sold in 2017 for $2.275 million, the property is now asking $2.799 million. Ed Faktorovich and Katherine Gallivan of Figure 8 Realty have the listing, and a video tour can be viewed here.

The home is surrounded by a stucco wall, beyond which lies a tiled courtyard.
There’s both a formal dining room and a circular breakfast nook.
The remodeled kitchen has been outfitted with a Viking stove.
Mature palm trees hold sway over the backyard.

LA installed hundreds of hand-washing stations at homeless camps. Some are drying up.

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A mobile hand-washing station in the Westlake-MacArthur Park area. | Lexis-Olivier Ray

The sanitation stations are supposed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus

On Maryland Street and Alvarado Boulevard, a hand-washing station tagged with graffiti has been without soap or water since March 24.

On Alvarado Boulevard and James M. Wood Boulevard, a hand-washing station littered with trash has been dry since March 25.

Several hundred hand-washing stations, which are recommended by public health officials as essential tools for preventing illness, have been distributed at homeless encampments across the city to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to city’s unhoused population.

With the new coronavirus spreading across the region, the city has, in the short span of a few weeks, collaborated with the state, county, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to roll out critical services that homeless advocates have demanded for years, including a promise from the mayor to open 6,000 emergency shelter beds at 42 rec centers citywide (as of Friday, 566 of those beds had opened).

They’ve installed 300 mobile hygiene stations and 120 mobile bathrooms, according to LAHSA director Heidi Marston. And more are on the way.

A federal judge has ordered the city and county to install 50 more toilets and 50 more sanitation stations in the Skid Row area. In court records, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who’s presiding over hearings in a civil lawsuit brought against the city and the county over their response to LA’s homeless crisis, says that he has personally observed “very few sanitation facilities available.”

“It appears that no new toilets or sanitation stations have been installed in this area since the advent of the COVID-19 health crisis,” the order says. “If left unchecked, it is likely that the coronavirus will both devastate the vulnerable homeless population and exacerbate the existing public health crisis more generally.”

But what good are hand-washing stations without soap or water?

Hand-washing is one of the best methods for stopping the disease, which could have devastating consequences if it hits homeless camps. Unhoused residents are more likely to have compromised immunity or reside in living situations that prevent recommended social distancing practices.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported in the city’s homeless community on Tuesday, involving a man in his 50s living and working at the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, confirmed today that five people experiencing homelessness have tested positive for the virus.

In the MacArthur Park area of Westlake, Curbed has observed that multiple hand-washing stations and portable bathrooms are not being maintained. From Skid Row to Venice, housing advocates have documented a similar pattern.

“The city’s hand-washing stations, from the start, was all show, and no substance,’” says Pete White, executive director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

White says the city started placing hundreds of stations without a plan to “restock, clean or refill them.” He also says the design of the hand-washing stations is “woefully inadequate for folks unable to operate the foot pump.”

LACAN and other organizations such as Street Watch LA and K-Town for All, have taken matters into their own hands, distributing DIY hand-washing stations across the city.

According to a map provided by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there are 11 hand-washing stations in the MacArthur Park-Westlake area of Los Angeles.

Curbed checked on all of those hand-washing stations on Tuesday and found three were without water and, or soap. Four of the locations on the LASHA map didn’t exist or weren’t located where the map said they were.

Three of the stations that were stocked with water, soap, and paper towels were in locations that didn’t correlate to the LAHSA map. Those stations appear to be managed by Andy Gump, a family owned and operated business based in North Hollywood.

On Beacon Avenue, near James M. Wood Boulevard, Amanda and Cindy escaped the sun on a warm Tuesday afternoon, sitting together in a tiny tent. They’re both aware of the COVID-19 pandmeic but say they aren’t concerned that they will catch it.

Hand-washing stations—like the new station that was installed next to their tent (it’s one of the hand-washing stations that LAHSA incorrectly mapped)—are helpful, but that they need to be cleaned more regularly, they say. There’s also a need for bathrooms and showers. “We need showers, definitely,” says Cindy.

A couple blocks northwest on Bonnie Brae Street and 8th Street, David, age 63, sips water out of a coffee cup from 7-Eleven. He says he used to get cups of coffee from 7-Eleven for free in exchange for cleaning the counters, but now self-serve coffee is a thing of the past, and 7-Eleven has stopped allowing him to wipe down the counters.

He says he’s not concerned about catching coronavirus either. But he is however worried about his elderly mother in Delaware, because if he comes down with COVID-19, he can’t take care of her.

David says he doesn’t use the hand-washing stations. He can tell just by looking at most of them, he says, that they’re dried up or unsanitary. Ordinarily he would go to McDonalds to use the bathroom and clean up, but now that dining rooms are closed he can’t. Fortunately, he says, the Food 4 Less is still open.

David also mentions the bathrooms on Alvarado between Wilshire and Seventh, across from the MacArthur Park-Westlake Metro station. “They’re good bathrooms,” he says.

On the eastern edge of the park, Raul watches over a couple of portable toilets and hand-washing stations under the shade of a small tree. The aspiring musician and filmmaker works for Urban Alchemy, an organization that contracts with the city of Los Angeles to provide restrooms, bathrooms, mobile showers, and other services near homeless camps. “We don’t run out of water,” said Raul, as a line of people waited to use the bathroom.

The hand-washing stations and portable toilets that Urban Alchemy use are managed by the same company as many of the city’s hygiene stations, United Site Services.

Elena Stern, a spokesperson for the city’s Bureau of Public Works, says the Unified Homeless Response Center is in charge of the hand-washing stations and referred questions to the mayor’s office. But she said that during homeless camp clean-ups, the city’s sanitation department cleans the hand-washing stations and notifies the city’s homeless response center if they need to be repaired or refilled. The homeless response center then notifies vendors to fix or refill them.

The mayor’s office did not return multiple requests for more information.

With empty streets, Beverly Hills looks to speed up Westside subway construction

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A crane peeking out behind a large fence with a sign that says Beverly HillsA construction zone at the Wilshire/La Cienega station in Beverly Hills. The city is temporarily closing part of Wilshire further west, around the Wilshire/Rodeo station. | Shutterstock

The city is closing a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard and ramping up construction

With transit ridership and revenue plummeting nationwide, the Beverly Hills City Council gave Metro some rare good news Tuesday night, agreeing to a plan that could speed up work on one of LA’s most anticipated transportation projects.

With most schools and businesses shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city is temporarily closing a three-block stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, not far from Rodeo Drive.

The closure, from Crescent Drive to Beverly Drive, will allow Metro to expedite construction of the forthcoming Wilshire/Rodeo subway station, part of the second phase of construction of a subway to the Westside.

According to a report from city staffers, this could accelerate construction of the extension of the D Line (formerly known as the Purple Line ) by as much as six months, depending on how long the closures remain in place.

“This is truly a unique circumstance that will allow for minimal disruption in our city,” Beverly Hills Mayor Les Friedman said in a statement, calling it “an effective strategy in an unprecedented time.”

The city planned to close this stretch of Wilshire on weekends later this year, but local officials say closing part of the street sooner, and all week long, makes sense now that Los Angeles residents have been ordered to stay at home to mitigate spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a webinar today, project coordinator Yvette Ximenez said that the Wilshire Boulevard closure is expected to last between one and three months, but can be halted at any time by order of the Beverly Hills City Council. During the closure, crews will be able to work seven days per week, and hauling vehicles will be allowed to operate during peak hours.

Beverly Drive may also be partially closed around Wilshire at times, according to the agreement between Beverly Hills and Metro.

It’s not clear whether time savings achieved as a result of the closure will allow the project to wrap up ahead of schedule. Ximenez says the second phase of the extension, from the eastern edge of Beverly Hills to Century City, is on track to open in 2025.

Activity deemed “essential”—including construction—has continued through business closures ordered last month, and Metro CEO Phil Washington has said that work on new transit projects like the Downtown LA Regional Connector and the new Crenshaw/LAX light rail line is “not being impacted” by the virus.

The extension of the D Line is being constructed in three phases, with all three set to be complete by 2027. Combined, they’ll add seven new stations and 9 miles of track, bringing the subway from Downtown to the Veterans Affairs campus south of Brentwood.

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West Hollywood one-bedroom condo with updated kitchen seeks $625K

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A cream-colored living room with coved ceilings and a fireplace. The one-bedroom unit is sunny and bright. | Courtesy of Sean Baroni and Artin Hovsepian of NextHome Luxe Group

Sunny living room, contemporary kitchen with upgraded features

With a central courtyard and Spanish flourishes throughout its common areas, the 1920s Hayworth Gardens in West Hollywood is a lovely complex less than two blocks from the Sunset Strip.

Now up for grabs in the building is this one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo that has oak floors, plaster-covered walls, and a galley-style kitchen outfitted with high-end appliances, quartz counters, and a handsome farmhouse sink.

The dining area links the kitchen with the living room, which is sunny and bright, thanks to a wall of large windows. The master bedroom also benefits from large windows and an ample amount of space.

The unit comes with two parking spaces in an underground garage and added private storage space. A community laundry room is also available on the property.

Unit No. 204 at 1345 North Hayworth last sold in January 2017 for $510,000. It is now listed for $625,000 with Sean Baroni and Artin Hovsepian of NextHome Luxe Group. HOA dues are $495 a month.

A view of the corner of the living room. The sun is shining through the wall of windows.
The large windows and oak floors give the house some history.
A table set up in a dining nook.
The dining area offers plenty of seating.
A white kitchen with a deep sink.
The white subway tile, quartz counters, and deep farmhouse sink give the kitchen a contemporary look.
The bedroom is spacious and light-filled.
A large interior courtyard with lots of lounge furniture.
The common areas at the Hayworth.
A photo of an apartment building with two rounded doors leading inside.
The exterior of Hayworth Gardens.

How coronavirus is impacting Los Angeles

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Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images | L Times via Getty Images

News and updates on how the novel coronavirus is affecting LA housing, transit, and more

The novel coronavirus continues to spread across Los Angeles County, with the number of confirmed cases expected to “rise dramatically” in the coming weeks. To prevent the outbreak from ballooning further, officials have commanded the closure of storefronts and ordered residents to stay home (as much as possible).

These measures have scrambled daily life for 10 million people and strained the local economy—and will likely not let up soon. “Be prepared for a couple of months like this,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a public address on March 24.

The mayor has urged residents to continue following the public health orders, which aren’t set to lift until April 19, and could be extended. “Everyone has to keep making these temporary sacrifices for the common good,” he said Tuesday night. “The deeper we abide by the rules, the quicker this can be over.”

Here’s what you need to know about how COVID-19 is affecting LA—and how to navigate the impacts, including live updates on closures, a guide to renter relief programs, and tips on the best ways to get around.

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1930s Spanish Colonial Revival on century-old citrus orchard asking $1.15M

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On the market for the very first time

A living slice of California history is now up for sale in Glendora. Known as the Hanley-Pittman Estate, the property in question is located at 437 East Bennett Avenue behind the famous Glendora Bougainvillea, believed to be the largest growth of bougainvillea in the United States. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the tropical vines were imported from South America and planted here by the wife of Glendora citrus rancher Reuben Hamlin sometime between 1900 and 1903.

In 1929, Hamlin sold the approximately eight-acre orange grove bordered by the bougainvillea to another citrus rancher, Ivan Hanley, who added a two-story Spanish Colonial Revival-style residence in 1931. A decade later, the house and a portion of the ranch was acquired by Lloyd and Doris Pittman, and has been in the hands of the Pittman family ever since.

Now available for the first time on the open market, the 2,176-square-foot home is undeniably in need of some polishing, but it’s easy to envision it becoming a total gem.

Character features include a clay tile roof, peg-and-groove hardwood floors, thick plaster walls, beamed ceilings, wrought iron sconces and railings, a wood-burning fireplace, French doors, casement windows, and vividly colored tile and fixtures.

In addition to the three-bedroom, two-bath house, the 1.11-acre gated property contains a sizable swimming pool, an attached two-car garage, and last but not least, scores of century-old orange and other citrus trees. It’s listed with Matthew Berkley of Deasy Penner Podley at an asking price of $1.149 million. A video tour including aerial views can be seen here, and a Matterport 3-D tour here.

The living room features nine-foot ceilings, French doors, and a long gallery with wrought-iron railing.
The kitchen is lined with colorful ceramic tile.
More beautiful original tile can be found in the bathrooms, along with striking seafoam green fixtures.
Hardwood floors and wood-framed casement windows are found throughout.
The gated grounds contain a huge swimming pool.
The property’s century-old trees were once part of the last producing commercial orange grove in the city of Glendora.

What to do if you can’t pay rent, get an eviction notice

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Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants who are unable to pay rent because of loss of income related to COVID-19. | Liz Kuball

Los Angeles has a program to help renters. Here’s how it works

More businesses are closing due to the novel coronavirus at the same time that rent is coming due—and renters across Los Angeles are trying to figure out how to move forward.

In a city where more than 60 percent of the population rents their home, local lawmakers are scrambling to help tenants, both residential and commercial. But there’s not a universal eviction moratorium, rent freeze, or rent forgiveness program—at least not yet. What the city of Los Angeles does have right now is a set of protections against evictions. It’s also giving renters time to pay back any rent payments they might miss during the outbreak.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the renter protections March 15. On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to add to and extend some of the measures outlined by the mayor through a city ordinance. On Monday night, the mayor signed that ordinance and cancelled his order, making the city law the one to follow. The city’s housing and community investment department is overseeing the roll-out, and will be in charge of looking into eviction cases.

Garcetti said he was continuing to work with councilmembers to close any loopholes, “so that tenants don’t, the day after this crisis, suddenly find themselves evicted and out on the street.”

Below, a breakdown of what protections are available to renters, how they work, and what to do if you get an eviction notice. Plus, a look at what other rental assistance programs are in the pipeline.

What does the moratorium do?

The city ordinance says landlords must not evict residential tenants who are unable to pay rent because of loss of income from work, childcare costs related to school closures, healthcare costs, or “reasonable expenditures” related to COVID-19.

The ordinance also halts evictions of renters who have “unauthorized occupants,” such as family members or pets, living with them because of COVID-19. It covers tenants facing eviction for “nuisance” reasons, like a loud child who’s in the apartment more now that schools are closed.

There are also protections against two more types of evictions, in addition to nonpayment of rent, including cases where tenants who have contracted COVID-19 are being evicted for reasons that are not their fault. “No-fault” evictions include instances where a landlord might want to tear down the building or take the unit for a family member.

Evictions under the California Ellis Act, which owners of rent-controlled buildings invoke when they want to demolish their buildings or remove them from the rental market, have also been halted now and are not allowed to resume until two months after the end of the “local emergency period” we’re in now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the mayor also paused rent increases in rent-stabilized units across the city. The rent-stabilization ordinance covers to buildings built and occupied before October 1, 1978. (Directions for finding out if this applies to your building are here.)

The ordinance also buys you time to make up any missed rent payments, but does not absolve you from paying that rent. (Keep reading for more details on that).

Because tenants are required to prove to their landlords that they are affected by COVID-19, and because other kinds of evictions are still legal, many advocates argue that this is not actually a moratorium on evictions and should not be called one.

What should you do if you receive an eviction notice?

If you receive an eviction notice that you suspect violates the city law—such as a “notice to pay rent or quit,” which is the first step in the legal process for evictions—file a complaint with the city of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID), which is handling eviction investigations.

According to HCID, in the meantime, and before the notice expires, tenants should also let their landlords know the reason why they haven’t paid. (The notice will say the number of days a tenant has to act.) Tenant advocates typically advise tenants to conduct this type of important communication with their landlord in writing.

When a complaint has been filed, it will be assigned to an HCID inspector. The inspector will review the documentation the tenant has to prove that their non-payment is related to COVID-19.

If everything is in order and the proof is sufficient, the housing inspector will send the landlord a letter requesting the cancellation of the notice and alert them about the repayment period.

What if your landlord still goes through with the eviction?

The housing department says it will provide “thorough documentation” that can be used to defend the tenant in court, and referrals to legal representation. The department says it will also “communicate the need for legal assistance” in eviction cases to these tenants.

Eviction cases where tenants have lawyers have been shown to be far more effective at keeping renters in their homes, but the cost of paying for a lawyer deters most renters facing eviction from getting legal representation. Los Angeles was, pre-pandemic, in the process of establishing a service that would offer some no-cost representation to tenants. That, however, has not been implemented yet.

How do you prove that COVID-19 caused your loss of income?

The website for the city’s housing department offers a few examples of documentation that could support a renter’s claim: “a letter from the employer citing COVID-19 as a reason for reduced work hours or termination, employer paycheck stubs, or bank statements.”

It’s good that the city isn’t requiring a set list of types of documentation, says Johnathan Jager from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, but he notes that it seems unnecessary to put the burden of proof on tenants while there is a statewide emergency related to the novel coronavirus.

You will eventually have to pay rent

Angelenos have 12 months to repay their landlords for missed rent.

The housing department’s instructions indicate that tenants can use the repayment period to repay their landlord all the back rent that’s owed, or they can arrange their own repayment plan with their landlord once the local emergency is over. Landlords are not allowed to charge late fees on repaid rent.

The city law is valid for the duration of the local emergency, which is set to expire April 19, but could be extended as needed. Under the current rules, whenever the mayor lifts the local emergency, the 12-month countdown starts.

The moratorium isn’t perfect, advocates say

Although the repayment period—originally six months under the mayor’s order—is now a full year, some advocates remain worried about the time frame.

In a city where so many tenants were paying more than 30 percent of their income toward rent before the novel coronavirus caused a citywide shutdown, evictions will be delayed—but not avoided all together, says Elena Popp, an attorney with the Los Angeles-based Eviction Defense Network

Many of her organization’s clients were already living paycheck to paycheck. Even with a year to repay back rent, “we’re just kicking the can down the road,” she says.

Popp throws out a hypothetical: A family of four paying $1,200 for rent misses four months of rent. Now they have to pay back $4,800 over a year, in addition to making their regular rent—an extra cost of $400 a month if they repay in installments over those 12 months.

“For most of these families, an additional $400 a month debt is impossible,” Popp says.

Popp says a “rent forgiveness” plan would likely be needed to truly help people stay in their homes.

What if you haven’t received an eviction notice, but are worried about paying rent?

Tenants rights experts echo that it is better to take action sooner rather than later if you think you won’t be able to make your rent for the coming month. Jager suggests talking to your landlord about your options. Bear in mind that landlords and property owners are also going to be crunched by the wave of people who are suddenly unable to pay rent, he says.

Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, says that most property owners will be worried about paying their mortgages, property taxes, and other regular expenses. “I think property owners are going to be willing to work things out with tenants,” Yukelson says.

Assuming you meet all the criteria laid out under the mayor’s moratorium, the city’s housing department says if you receive a “notice to pay rent or quit” from your landlord, let them know why you can’t pay before the landlord’s notice expires.

You should also call the housing department and file a complaint.

The housing department says it will prioritize eviction complaints, but while your complaint is being investigated, you should stay in you home, and only leave if you are served with an order from the Los Angeles County Sheriff (which would only happen after the courts had heard the case and the outcome had not been in your favor). The courts are currently closed for eviction proceedings due to the pandemic, so that part of the process is on hold for now.

Where can you go for help with evictions right now?

Tenants needing help with eviction-related matters, “irrespective of COVID-19,” should contact the housing department to weigh the options and learn about their rights, says spokesperson Sandra Mendoza.

Complaints can be submitted via HCID’s hotline number (1-866-557-7368), or online at https://hcidla.lacity.org/ask-hcidla.

Many tenant advocacy groups are still open and operating, but are not relying on in-person sessions and clinics. Instead, they’re taking phone calls, emails, and communicating via text. A number of groups are transitioning their regular tenants rights clinics to Facebook Live or Instagram.

What additional protections for renters or rental property owners could be coming come in the next weeks or days?

The city is also halting all commercial evictions for non-payment of rent if the non-payment stems from a COVID-19-related reason. Commercial tenants have three months to repay their rent.

State legislators are working on a ban on commercial and residential evictions and foreclosures.

Ralph Jean, director of communications for Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, says his organization wants to the city to enact a rent freeze and give tenants more time to repay rent. It’s part of a coalition called #HealthyLA that is calling for a broader list of protections, including not just a rent freeze, but rent forgiveness and a suspension of mortgage payments.

What are other parts of the region doing?

Renters in cities that have not enacted eviction protection measures could receive some help from the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that new statewide protections for COVID-19-related residential evictions will be in effect through May 31. The measure requires tenants to let their landlords know a week in advance that they will not be paying full rent, and it still allows for eviction notices to be served.

That simply delays evictions—but does not stop them, says Leah Simon-Weisberg, legal director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

“All it does is extend the amount of time tenants have to respond to their own eviction order—and only under the circumstance where tenants have given seven days advance notice to their landlord,” she says.

Some LA-area cities already had their own eviction protections in place. In addition to Santa Monica’s broader eviction ban, Los Angeles County has put its own anti-eviction measures in place for all residential and commercial evictions in unincorporated areas of the county through May 31, except those needed for “health and safety reasons.” Inglewood has issued a 45-day eviction measure similar to the city of Los Angeles’s, which applies to evictions resulting from non-payment of rent for COVID-19-related reasons.

Long Beach has also implemented eviction protections for renters affected by COVID-19 and unable to pay rent. The protections are retroactive to March 4 and expire May 31. Tenants have to show proof of the effect of the new coronavirus on their income and also need to tell their landlords beforehand that rent will not be paid on time. But tenants who meet those qualifications have until November 30 to pay their back rent without late charges.

Burbank has its own version that also applies to these kinds of residential and commercial evictions; its “ban” is effective now through April 30.

What about help for homeowners?

Newsom announced Thursday that four of the country’s five largest financial institutions will give California homeowners more time to make mortgage payments.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Citi agreed to waive payments for COVID-19-affected homeowners for 90 days. More than 200 state-chartered banks have agreed to do the same, Newsom said.

Bank of America will give customers only 30 days to catch up on payments.

If you’ve lost your job or seen your income drop dramatically as a result of COVID-19 and your mortgage is federally backed, NPR reports that you may be eligible to have your mortgage payments reduced or put on hold for up to a year. Though that’s only for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-guaranteed mortgages right now, but “regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy.”

 
 
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