Whittier has lowered the boom on property owners who have converted garages into apartments, in violation of city zoning laws.
The City Council on Tuesday night approved a plan that will require these landlords to evict their tenants and pay moving costs and any rent increases the tenants incur for up to a year. Officials said the plan would eliminate the illegal apartments without throwing the tenants into the streets.
City officials estimate hundreds of garages have been converted into apartments without city approval. Many have illegal wiring, little or no plumbing, inadequate heating and no parking. Officials said the apartments clog neighborhoods, strain city services, lower property values and pose a health and safety risk to their tenants.
The city will also hire a special prosecutor to take legal action against property owners and hire an inspector to find the converted garages. The city will pay for the crackdown by levying a $50 license fee on apartment owners.