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Westlake Fire and Inspections

May 12, 1993

After the Westlake fire it seems that if the city knew about the code violations and failed to act to protect those tenants, then the city building inspectors should be tried with the owner for neglect if not murder. I manage a 32-unit building that now has 40 units in it. The city now knows this and I have even received a phone call from my councilman's office telling me that the city has a housing problem. So what if the walls are thin, the units don't have smoke detectors in the bedrooms and the first floor unit has bars in the bedroom that don't open. I've rented these units for six years before the city found out--now some of the units are off the market.

The bank and management company want to keep these units on the market. The bank wants this property to sell at the price of a 40-unit building. The tenants who lived in these units would fight because of the thin walls--they don't profit but end up losing sleep and their deposits. The man who built those units went bankrupt.

MICHAEL HUGHES

Los Angeles

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