West Hollywood : Rent Case Won't Be Appealed

The City Council has decided not to appeal a recent court ruling that forces the city's Rent Stabilization Commission to reconsider a rent-increase case involving an 87-year-old landlady.

As a result of the council's decision last week, the commission will have to rehear a rent-increase request brought by Mary Simonson, who claims that she is becoming financially destitute because of low rents she has kept for more than two decades at her nine-unit Hancock Avenue apartment building.

Simonson's attempt to raise the rents, which are as low as $72 a month, was denied when the commission deadlocked in a 2-2 vote last May.

Physically frail and partially deaf, Simonson has become a heroine to city landlords, who have helped finance her legal appeal of the commission's ruling.

Last month, Santa Monica Superior Court Judge David M. Rothman ruled that the rent commission was in error when it failed to consider evidence that Simonson's rents were disproportionately lower than rents charged by comparable units in her neighborhood.

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