Theories abound over potential lease policy changes; lessees are worried
A rumor has been floating in the Owens Valley that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is making changes to its lease policy that could spell the end of some businesses. However, LADWP has not disclosed any of the changes in the policy … yet. It is still hashing out the details on those leases; first with ranchers before moving onto commercial businesses.
A couple business owners, including Mike Allen of Sierra Saddlery, believe this is a ploy by LADWP to put businesses under. But, a spokesperson for LADWP said the company has no intention of driving any tenants out, or purposely delaying renewals or transfers. There’s a whole department dedicated to leases at LADWP, Real Estate Section, Leasing Group.
“Fears in the community that LADWP is not renewing rental agreements are unfounded,” Amanda Parsons Manager of Media Relations told The Sheet in an email. “This year, LADWP has renewed 17 agreements in Inyo County and staff is working hard to renew more every day. In fact, just this year the Real Estate Section in LADWP’s Bishop Office has assigned a specific group dedicated to nothing but agreement renewals. In all leasing practices, LADWP must comply with the Los Angeles City Charter, Los Angeles Administrative Code and the Charles Brown Act.”
Currently, as leases are expiring, they’re not being renewed pending policy changes.
Some fear that changes may involve LADWP selling properties at market value. Lessees would either find the means to purchase such properties or walk away from any improvements they’ve made.
Some don’t have the means to buy the properties and that prospect is distressing; others see opportunity.
Bishop City Administrator Jim Tatum said that a new lease policy could mean that more business owners might have the opportunity to buy the land their improvements sit on.
The City of Bishop is trying to help organize and unify local commercial lease holders to have a voice and representation as a whole, similar to the local Cattlemen’s Association.
The new potential lease policy is a double-edged sword.
The part that has commercial lessee holders nervous is that the leases can only be transferred once. If a business owner wants to sell his/her business, the lease is transferred, but when the new owner wishes to sell the land again, there will be no lease to go with the business purchase.