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Culver City Council Discusses A Change to its Mayoral Policy

Image is a city hall sign on a brick building.The Culver City Council’s policy on electing its mayor and vice mayor is still in limbo, and will remain undecided for some time.  At their last council meeting in June the Culver City Council voted 4-1 to set aside it’s mayoral policy and requested that staff create a comprehensive report on what a policy change might look like, should a change be adopted.

Depending on what the report comes up with, Culver City’s tradition for how it elects its mayor and vice-mayor could change, or it could stay the same.

The entire controversy surrounding the current policy stems from an April council meeting where Councilwoman Meghan Sahli-Wells was voted in as vice mayor instead of Councilman Goran Eriksson.  Eriksson had been in line for the position but was passed over when the new council was sworn into office. He was the lone dissenting vote during the June council.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Sahli-Wells will remain vice mayor while a change in policy is being considered.

Several Culver City Real Estate Area residents believe the Culver City council violated the Brown Act when it held prior conversations before its April vice mayor vote without the public’s attendance.

Bret Osterberg stated, “We know what was discussed and voted for in the meeting, that’s not a question.  The issue is what went on before. Staging a second vote for show doesn’t get us anywhere.”

Sahli-Wells told those in attendance that she didn’t feel comfortable voting Eriksson as vice mayor or mayor, due to his voting pattern.

“It’s not about being mean or nice,” Sahli-Wells said. “It’s not about tradition. It’s not about taking turns. It’s absolutely about leadership in an incredibly important and critical time.”

Eriksson stated his support for the policy, as a way to keep the council transparent and stop political agendas.

“When there are stakes in the game, logic might disappear,” Eriksson said. “…This is how its (policy) done and the reason for that is to avoid exactly what we have today. This doesn’t do the city good, none whatsoever.”

Jamie Wallace, another resident who spoke at the meeting, had hoped the council would make Eriksson the city’s vice mayor.

“No one has ever been denied their vice or regular mayoral appointment when it was their first term, except now,” Wallace said. “The council deliberately ignored the policy and snubbed Goran Eriksson for his hard-earned vice mayoral appointment based on years of service.”

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg is interested to see how the Culver City Council will handle the issue in the coming months.

Image is two signs, one green and one red, with the words "Choice" on them, pointing in different directions.

How to Handle Unauthorized Pets as a Property Manager

Image is a red and black No Pets sign.Many good property managers and rental property owners recognize that allowing pets onto a property can help attract good tenants, and keep good tenants in the property for a longer length of time.  However, even property managers that allow animals will occasionally find themselves dealing with unauthorized pets.  Regardless of their pet policy, professional property mangers will be prepared to handle such situations when they arise.

Unauthorized pets are usually discovered by management during routine inspections or when handling repairs.  Sometimes they are spotted and reported by neighbors.  They can come in many different forms, from unregistered pets or prohibited breeds or sizes or too many pets, to pets in properties that prohibit them altogether.   When unauthorized pets are found, a property manager must be prepared to handle them both professionally and legally.

The first thing a property manager must do when dealing with unauthorized pets is remember that their tenant is likely bonded with the animal and that removing the pet is going to be emotional.  Property managers need to enforce the terms of the lease and follow legal procedures to help their tenant handle their lease violation, but they should remain compassionate while doing so.

When an unauthorized pet is discovered property owners or managers need to send the tenant an official notice outlining the lease violation and the timeline that they have to fix the problem.  Timelines need to be based on state laws and the pet policy in the tenant’s lease.  In some states tenants can be given as few as 24 hours to remove the pet while in others, a tenant is allowed 3-7 days to remedy the problem.

After a tenant has been served notice of their lease violation, property managers must remind them that if they fail to fix the issue within the timeline given, they will be evicted.  Tenants should also be reminded that they are responsible for any damages caused by unauthorized pets.

Always use official notices and follow formal procedures when dealing with unauthorized pets, as tenants are more likely to take such communication seriously.

Image is a bulldog laying down.Skilled property managers such as Martin Feinberg know to always review their pet policies with all tenants at lease signing to ensure there is no misunderstanding.  By remaining professional and understanding local and state laws, property managers and investment property owners can keep tenants happy while taking their responsibilities seriously.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Wants Energy Conservation

Image is an electrical grid.The Culver City Real Estatearea has been experiencing record breaking heat the last few days and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has urged customers to save energy when and where possible to avoid the possibility of blackouts.

Local listing agent Martin Feinbergnotes that there are several ways get through a heat wave safely.  One of the most important things to do is to avoid electricity usage during peek demand.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power “the agency has adequate resources to meet an anticipated power demand of 6,000 megawatts over the next few days. Over the last three summers, average energy use has peaked at 4,350 MW during the day, compared to an average daily peak of 3,555 MW throughout the year. DWP’s record peak demand of 6,502 MW was reached on Aug. 31, 2017, at 4:15 p.m.”

COO Martin Adams stated, “As we prepare ourselves for extreme weather conditions, we remind our customers to conserve electricity, when possible, while staying safe.  Conserving energy not only can help manage your costs, but it also reduces potential strains on our power grid, which can be caused by overworked air conditioners and other appliances.”

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recommends following the guidelines below to help keep the threat of a power outages at bay.  These guidelines are:

  • Adjust air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage during the hottest hours of the day when A/C systems have to work hardest to cool;
  • Reduce power use during the afternoon/early evening hours from 2 to 9 p.m., when energy use is highest
  • Visit the local library, recreation center, mall, movie theaters or any other air-conditioned gathering place to give your air conditioner a rest;
  • Limit use of major appliances during peak hours of the day;
  • Use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during the early morning hours or during evening hours;
  • Close window curtains, shades or blinds during the heat of the day to reduce the extra heat from direct sunlight through windows;
  • Ventilate homes in the early morning and evening by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate;
  • Turn off lights and other electrical equipment when they are not in use; and
  • Unplug “energy vampires” like cell phone chargers, DVD players, microwave ovens and other appliances that use energy even when not in use.

Image is an illustration of a man sitting in front of a fan.Martin Feinberg, Realtor, encourages area residents to conserve energy when possible in order to help ensure the energy is available for everyone when it’s essential for health and safety.

Property Management and Dealing with Resident Harassment and Bullying

Image is of a man and woman arguing in silhouette.There are many different types of situations that rental property owners and property managers must deal with often.  One of the most difficult issues to handle can be tenant harassment and bullying.

It can be tempting to ignore bad behavior by residents towards others.  Some property owners might even prefer that tenants handle disagreements between themselves.  However, professional property managers understand that ignoring the problem isn’t an option.   Property managers have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe and happy. Besides that, some government agencies such as HUD require landlords to mediate problems between tenants. Letting resident harassment or bullying go unchecked can get a rental property owner in legal trouble.

When an issue arises between tenants or among residents and visitors, there are some questions that property managers can ask themselves to help determine when or if they need to get involved.  These questions are:

  • Does the resident’s behavior pose a risk or the possibility of endangering another?
  • Did the violation or behavior threaten another’s safety?
  • What does the lease or addendum say about the behavior?
  • Is there a policy against tenant discrimination, harassment, or bullying?

Professional property managers like Martin Feinberg understand that they cannot ignore complaints that one resident is harassing or bullying another.  Complaints of harassment and bullying must be objectively investigated. This is especially true if a resident is displaying discriminatory behavior or making intolerant remarks.

Image is a handprint with the word stop stamped over the top of it, with everything in shades of red.Should it become necessary for a property manager to get involved, they must be prepared to offer legitimate solutions to the problem.   Some solutions may include offering relocation options, letting one or both parties out of their leases without penalty, or providing information on free mediation services.

If the harassment is severe enough property mangers should require the complainant to contact local authorities.  If the police or courts get involved, property managers need to be prepared to offer options that will honor protection orders, change locks, and bifurcation of the lease to remove someone convicted of domestic violence.

Hopefully most property managers will not have to deal with harassment and bullying among tenants very often.  Having a no discrimination policy, leases that cover harassment and bullying behavior, and being prepared to quickly handle situations if they arise, will help ensure that it is handled correctly if it does occur.

New Culver City Restaurant Barbara Jean now Open for Business

Image is a plate of restaurant food.A new Southern restaurant focusing on elevated soul food has opened in Culver City.  The new eatery, called Barbara Jean, is located at 4114 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite E, within the Culver City Real Estate Area.

According to its website, “Barbara Jean Restaurant is a celebration of American Soul Food. A cuisine that is imbued with the many cultures that makes up this vast and diverse country. With a focus on the roots of African American cooking, it’s nutritional foundation and original applications: meats, offal, ancient grains, vegetables, and fermentation with a modern flair presentation.”

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, notes that Barbara Jean Executive Chef Jason Fullilove spent part of his childhood in Southern Africa and has been featured on The Food Network, Esquires Network, and CBS.

With a focus on the roots of African-American cooking, the Barbara Jean Restaurant menu includes appetizers such as hush puppies with truffle butter, and deviled crab with avocado and black truffle caviar.

For dinner there are offerings such as lobster mac and cheese with plantain powder, Mary’s free-range chicken or barbecue pork agnolotti—small filled ravioli-style pasta complete with corn nage, artichokes and baby corn.

Local listing agent Martin Feinberg encourages interested diners to view the full dinner menu here.

Barbara Jean currently has a four-star rating out of 25 reviews on Yelp.  John K., who was among the first Yelpers to review the restaurant on June 28, wrote, “We stumbled in on the verge of the dinner menu and immediately fell in love. Tom was so personable and helpful. The shrimp and grits are amazing and the Brussels sprouts, although a little oily, were delicious with caramelized apples and garlic.”

Image is the inside of a restaurant with patrons at tables.“The food is ridiculously delicious,” added Yelper Luis C. “The soft-shell BLT is definitely a banger! So in love with everything about it, from the pretzel bun to the house made pickle!”

Barbara Jean is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Handling the Pet Agreement as a Property Manager

Image is a french bull dog sitting on a red pillow.Many people consider their pets to be members of their families.  Pets can enhance quality of life and provide emotional support.  This is true for those who own their own homes as well as for those who rent. A good pet agreement can make all the difference in attracting good tenants and serving the interests of rental property owners.

It is possible for tenants to be good tenants while also owning pets, but property managers must be experienced enough to know how to handle them.  Allowing pets to live in a rental property can help keep tenants happy, but the investment of the property owner must be protected at the same time.

There are many reasons why a rental property owner or a property manager should have a pet policy for their rental properties.  A good pet policy will protect the property, comply with insurance requirements, and also keep tenants safe and happy.  While “no pets allowed” is a viable option, for property managers who want to allow pets, the lease agreement is a tool that can’t be overlooked.

There are some things that all professional property managers who allow pets should include in their lease agreements.  These stipulations and requirements should be clear, concise, enforceable, and legal.

What Can be Included in a Pet Agreement:

  • Pets must be spayed or neutered
  • Only common household pets (four-legged animals) are allowed
  • Residents must control noise and odor
  • No visiting pets allowed
  • A deposit must be paid for each pet
  • Pets must be vaccinated in accordance with state and local law
  • Pets must be registered
  • Size and breeds can be restricted
  • Number of pets can be restricted
  • Pets must be restrained in common areas
  • Reasonable fines for pet violations

What Cannot be Included in a Pet Agreement:

  • Restricting the time or hours when a pet is allowed outside (such as when a tenant may walk a dog)
  • Unreasonable fines for pet violations
  • Assistive/therapy animals

Image is a tabby cat inside a home.Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand that pets are often a beloved part of a tenant’s life.  Whether pets area allowed under a lease agreement or are prohibited, property managers should always respond with compassion and kindness.  Lease stipulations must be enforced, but remaining professional and respectful while doing so will help keep both tenants and property owners happy.



Fiesta of Gems to be held in Culver City Saturday and Sunday

Image is a group of rough gemstones against a black background.This weekend Culver City will be hosting the 57thannual Fiesta of Gems.  There will be educational opportunities for children and free demonstrations as well as workshops. The event will open on Saturday at 10 a.m. and go to 6 p.m.  Sunday hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Fiesta of Gems is held in the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, 4117 Overland Ave.  Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that this year the featured gem is jade.

Jette Sorensen, a workshop leader, said that in previous years, visitors have traveled from many different areas to attend the annual event. There is not charge to attend and parking is free.

Janice Metz, relation’s coordinator of the Culver City Rock and Mineral Club, stated, “The main purpose of the event is to offer science lessons about gemstones and to introduce the world of geology to the youth.”

As part of this year’s Fiesta of Gems, skilled jewelry makers will offer workshops featuring specifics on making hand-made jewelry.  There will also be opportunities to win hourly prizes.

Metz also stated that most workshops will be offered for a fee between $60-$80.  Workshop attendees will hopefully leave with a finished product but if they have not completed their design they will have access to the leader’s phone number so they can receive guidance on completing their jewelry.

The first two workshops will begin simultaneously on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. One workshop is on metalsmithing-fusing on Argentinian silver rings, and the second workshop will demonstrate how to make a Byzantine Chainmail bracelet.

On Saturday from 2:15 to 6 p.m., an enamel basics demonstration will be offered.  The same workshop will be offered again on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Sunday there will also be a crystal-healing workshop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., A stone-on-stone workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., and a netting bracelet beading workshop from 1:45 to 5 p.m.

According to Metz, there will also be hands-on opportunities for kids to learn about geodes (including breaking rocks a part to look for crystals) and identify different types of rocks.

Forty vendors are scheduled to come to offer free demonstrations and a representative from the Gemological Institute will be in attendance at the Fiesta of Gems as well.

Martin Feinberg, local listing agent, was pleased to learn that, as in years past, a portion of the proceeds from the workshops will be donated to a Culver City Real Estate area charity.

Independence Day Celebrations Offered Throughout Culver City Area

Image is red, white, and blue desserts and popsicles against an outdoor background.Independence Day is exactly one week away and Martin Feinberg, Realtor, is excited for the upcoming festivities.  Check out the town-by-town listings below of Fourth of July celebrations and events in and around the Culver City Real Estate area:

JULY 4July 4th Concert & Fireworks 2018: West LA College. Carnival games, food trucks & good time for all!

  • West Los Angeles College, 9000 Overland Ave, Culver City, California 90230
  • Gates open 4 p.m.

JULY 2-4: July 4th Fireworks Spectacular 2018 & The Go-Go’s: Hollywood Bowl. Three nights.

  • Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90068
  • Tickets on sale.

JULY 3July 3 ‘Thelma & Louise’ & Fireworks: Forever Cemetery. “Watch the night sky sparkle with unforgettable fireworks and the best outdoor screen.”

  • NOTE DATE: July 3.
  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
  • $35

JULY 4: July 4 ‘Footloose’ & Fireworks 2018: Forever Cemetery. “The most spectacular, most riveting Independence Day film and fireworks pairing ever!”

  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
  • $35

JULY 4Queen Mary 4th Of July Celebration & Fireworks. All-day family fun plus a dynamic fireworks display.

  • Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, CA 90802
  • 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

JULY 4: July 4 BBQ & Fireworks View 2018: Aquarium Of Pacific. “Get a fish-eye view of the Queen Mary fireworks display.”

  • Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
  • 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

JUNE 30Parade, Concert & Fireworks 2018: El Sereno Park. Featuring Tierra!

  • NOTE DATE: June 30
  • El Sereno Park, 4721 Klamath St., Los Angeles, CA 90032

JULY 4: July 4th Fireworks 2018: Exposition Park – Coliseum. Picnic-style event with live music, games and fun for the kids.

  • Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, 90037
  • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

JULY 4: Grand Park 4th Of July Block Party & Fireworks. “Picnicking, games, art-making, music, dancing and stunning fireworks show high above Downtown L.A.”

  • Grand Park, 200 N Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

JULY 4July 4th Fireworks. Sign up for barge notifications.

JULY 44th Of July Fireworks. Great viewing at Burton Chace Park & Fisherman’s Village.

  • 9 p.m.

JULY 44th of July Cruises. Choose from Champagne Brunch Cruise, Fireworks Dinner Cruise, or Fireworks Observation Cruise with appetizers.

  • PRICE: $75- $109.95 per person* (*Tax, service charge and landing fee may apply)

JULY 4: July 4th Runs, Parade & Fireworks. Among the best Independence Day celebrations in the region!

  • Races: 8:15 a.m.
  • Kids Run: 9:30 a.m.
  • Parade: 2 p.m.
  • Food/Concert Gates Open and Kid’s Activities & 2nd Stage Concert: 4 p.m.
  • Main Stage Concert: 6 p.m.
  • Fireworks: 9 p.m.

JUNE 30Independence Day Fest & Pre-July 4th Fireworks. A star-spangled salute.

  • NOTE DATE: June 30.
  • Santa Monica College, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405

JULY 4: 4th of July Parade 2018. It is the 12th year for this fun community event.

  • Main Street, Santa Monica, CA
  • 9:30 a.m.

JULY 4July 4th ‘Mr. & Mrs. Muscle Beach’ 2018. An annual tradition at Muscle Beach.

  • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

JULY 4Fourth Of July BBQ & DJs 2018: Skybar. Celebrate in style!

  • Skybar at Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, California 90069
  • 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

JULY 4LAX Coastal July 4th Parade . This year’s theme: Cities Across America.

  • Loyola Boulevard, Westchester, Los Angeles, CA
  • 11 a.m.

For a full guide to Independence Day celebrations throughout the Los Angeles region, local listing agent Martin Feinberg, encourages residents to check out the LA County July 4th Fireworks, Parades & More: 2018 Guide

Image is fireworks against a black sky.


Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Hoarding as a Property Manager

Image is an illustration of a woman holding a bucket full of cleaning supplies.There are many different issues that property owners will be forced to deal with, either by themselves or through a property management company, as they work with tenants.  Some are more easily dealt with than others, however, and hoarding tends to be on the more difficult side of things.

According to the Mayo Clinic “hoarding disorder is a persistent difficultly discarding or parting with possessions because of perceived need to save them.  A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.  Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs. “

Hoarding is a serious problem for rental property owners and for property managers, and is not easily managed.  Hoarding can occur for many different reasons, from depression, fear, or dementia to brain injuries, trauma, or genetics.  There are hundreds of different reasons that a tenant might hoard, but managing the problem is usually similar no matter the cause.

Regardless of why someone hoards, the problems caused by hoarding are too serious to ignore. Hoarding is a health and safety issue. It can lead to pest infestations, fire safety issues, blocked egress, mold, and even weakness in the weight and load bearing abilities of a rental property.

Though hoarding is usually difficult to resolve, there are some basic do’s and don’ts that will make the issue easier to cope with, both for the property manager and the hoarder.

Hoarding Clean Up Do’s

  • For safety reasons, hoarding cannot be overlooked, but that does not mean that compassion cannot also be extended during the cleanup process.  One of the best ways to handle hoarding issues is to first emotionally connect with the tenant.
  • Continue to talk with the tenant about the hoarding situation and remind them that it’s not going to go away on its own.
  • Talk about safety, as most hoarders are concerned with safety as well.
  • Agree with the hoarder that the items are important.
  • Discuss with the hoarder about keeping everything confidential.
  • Ask tenants why they are keeping items, and listen as they explain their thinking.  It will help you understand why they hoard.
  • Promote donation. Everyone likes to help the needy.
  • Help the tenant understand that they way they live is not normal (but be compassionate and do not judge).
  • Seek help from family and professionals, especially therapists that specialize in hoarding. There are also professional services that will help clean up a property.
  • Enlist the help of adult protective services, the health department, and the local police and/or fire departments.  This is especially essential if it becomes necessary to evict a tenant for hoarding because documentation will be needed.
  • Give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.

Hoarding Clean up Don’ts

  • Don’t get impatient. Cleaning up will take time.
  • Don’t ever make fun of the hoarder.
  • Don’t say, “let’s get rid of all this stuff.”  Hoarders emotionally attached to their items and that needs to be acknowledged if the hoarder is to improve.
  • Don’t get angry.
  • Don’t touch the hoarder’s items without permission.
  • Don’t treat the hoarder like a child (many hoarders are very intelligent) or a criminal, even if you must get the authorities involved.
  • Don’t give the hoarder a list of tasks to accomplish all at once.  Focus on one task at a time.
  • Don’t ask someone why he or she hoards.

Image is an illustration of a clean and orderly living room.Professional property managers such as Martin Feinberg understand that there are steps that must be taken in dealing with any problem, and hoarding is no different.  When hoarding is first discovered, the rental owner or property manager must remember to document everything, provide opportunities to cleanup through the use of written infractions and reasonable deadlines, utilize social services and local authorities, and finally get third party documentation should eviction become necessary.

If hoarding becomes a problem for a tenant, try not to stress.  There are worse things to deal with as a property manager or property owner; try to keep things in perspective.  Helping to create a livable condition, and periodic monitoring of the situation, will make life happier for both you and the tenant, providing a win-win for everyone.


Jerry Maren Last Surviving Wizard of Oz Munchkin Dies at 99

Image is a black and white photo of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man, and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of OzMartin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, was sad to learn that Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, had died at the age of 99.  The Wizard of Oz was filmed at MGM in Culver City in 1938.

Maren played the green-garbed member of the Lollipop Guild—which also included Jakob “Jackie” Gerlich and Harry Earles—in the film. Maren was the member of the Lollypop Guild who handed an oversized lollipop to Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) and welcomed her to Munchkin Land.

Marin was 18 years old and stood 3 feet six inches when the Wizard of Oz was being filmed. He and the other Munchkins were reportedly paid less than $100 per week ($900 in today’s money) for their work.  The movie featured 120 “little people.”

In the past Marin had recounted that there had been a shortage of beds during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, which forced many Munchkins to sleep sideways three to a bed.

Jerry Maren was born Gerald Marenghi in Boston in 1919.  He worked in the entertainment industry for more than 70 years and appeared in countless films and TV shows.  He also played the role of Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in McDonalds TV commercials in the 1970s and 1980s.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, notes that Maren died in a San Diego nursing home on May 24.

The Culver City Real Estate area has had a special relationship with The Wizard of Oz, and the Munchkins who participated in the iconic film, for many years.  Over the Halloween weekend in 1997, some Munchkins returned to Culver City for the reopening of the Culver Hotel.  It had been their first time back to the city in 59 years.

The historic hotel had been home to many of the Munchkins in 1938 when they were filming “The Wizard of Oz” at MGM Studios.  The Culver Hotel was located only two blocks from MGM.

Six of the original Munchkins attended the gala event.  They received a warm welcome from Culver City officials as they entered the grand lobby. Beyond the Rainbow sponsored the event.

The Munchkins have a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Image is a rainbow with children in front of it, cast in shadow.