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Further Clarification on Condo Conversion Rights

November 12, 1989

Substitute conditional-use permits are being issued by the city of West Hollywood to residents who bought certain condominiums between Dec. 17, 1986 and July 13, 1989.

The permits are intended to allow owners and sellers of the units the legal right to buy and sell them, no matter what the outcome of the city's continuing court battle with developers over the status of certain apartments and condominiums in West Hollywood ("W. Hollywood Clarifies Condo Conversion Status," Nov. 5, 1989).

However, if the city loses its case when it goes before the state Supreme Court early next year, the conditional use permit requirement could be declared illegal, and therefore unnecessary, according to Christi Hogin, West Hollywood assistant city attorney. Sale of condominium units would thus be allowed to continue without the owner obtaining such a city permit, she said.

If the Supreme Court affirms the city's conditional use permit requirement, the permits the city is now issuing will assure the legal status of these units as condominiums, Hogin said. If the ruling is affirmative, the sale of units bought directly from developers after July 13, 1989 would remain subject to cancellation by the city. If a sale is canceled, buyers would be entitled to a full refund, Hogan said.

"If you're going to buy a condominium in West Hollywood today, don't buy it from a developer unless he can show you a conditional use permit," Hogin advised.

If an individual who owns a condominium unit contacts the city attorney's office now, he can get an application for a substitute conditional use permit, Hogin said. "Assuming this person is not the developer or related to the developer, the city will issue the permit and that will free them to buy and sell their unit."

The state Supreme Court is expected to rule on the matter in late March.

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