Dear City Council and City Staff,
Regarding the new minimum wage increase law, was there any kind of carve-out for non-profits, specifically for condominium associations? Or was any kind of consideration given to the impact this new law would have on condominium associations?
Our homeowner association, as with many HOAs, are already struggling with very tight budgets. We raise our dues the absolute minimum possible each year and avoid assessments unless absolutely necessary. It is a struggle to allocate enough of our monthly assessments to adequately fund our reserves to cover major repairs and upgrades as required by state law.
Our building is over 50 years old, built in 1974. You have all been to my building but the newer councilmembers may not realize that there are over 100 units here. We have enormous repairs every year just trying to maintain our structure and often have to bring various parts of our building up to code for insurance purposes as well as for basic safety issues. Things like redoing our front steps, replacing all the railings throughout our building, we don’t have wired fire alarms which our insurance company would like us to have. We are currently replacing our original elevators. Our roof needs to be replaced in the next couple years. We are also looking into bringing more electricity to our building so we can prepare for EV’s as we are currently maxed out and cannot have individual chargers in our garages and many owners are clamoring for Teslas. All of this is going to cost our building several million dollars. And we have only 102 units to split these costs.
We are not Sierra Towers or Empire West or even our next-door neighbor Shoreham Towers. Our homeowners are middle class. Many, like myself, have lived in this building well over twenty years when the purchase prices were modest and the monthly fees were low. We have many creative people and people in the entertainment industry whose income is sporadic, who are living on royalties. We have retirees on limited income.
Every year, we have to raise the dues just to cover the increases from the utility companies, Athens, Spectrum, our insurance companies – especially after the two major fires we had which you are aware of and which each cost this building over $1M in repairs, and other services. Cleaning and maintenance supplies go up every years. We have no control over these costs. Not to mention the salaries we already pay our longtime staff and which we already increase regularly and give annual bonuses to. We also give them special bonuses, as we did for working during the pandemic.
I don’t think any of you live in condos so aren’t aware of the pushback from homeowners every time dues are increased and the burden increased dues place on them.
I believe about 20% of WeHo residents are condo owners. I don’t know how many are large enough to have permanent staff. There are only four or five luxury condos in the entire city. The rest are like Horn Plaza who can ill afford to absorb this wage increase into their budgets.
We do not have the ability to move out of the city. This city makes a big issue about protecting affordable housing for its residents. We are residents too. This city is already turning rentals into high-end housing and forcing long-time renters to move out of our borders. Now the city will be forcing long-time condo owners to sell their units because of increased dues.
Is that really the direction this city is going to take?
If this wage increase law isn’t yet fully codified, I hope that you will find a way to protect non-profit condominium associations for the reasons outlined above.
Please let me know how this new law affects condominium associations. Thank you.
President (and Treasurer for 20+ years)
Horn Plaza Condominium Association
1230 Horn Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069