The Sachs Situation Sucks, Part 1

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 12 min read
Screenshot of Sachs apartments' Peerspace listing

Let me be clear: I am all for renting out your own home for filming if you want to. Life is expensive, especially in LA.

But requiring your tenants to vacate their units for filming? That, to this former resident manager, crosses a line.

Rudolph Schindler's modernist masterpiece Sachs Apartments are available on Peerspace for $350 per hour - and available hours run from 6am to midnight. Since when is it reasonable to shoo renters out of the homes they pay to live in - and for up to 18 hours? (And yes, it is theoretically possible for a shoot to last that long - although it's a bad idea due to overtime pay rules for union members and basic common sense.)

See, a Sachs resident reached out. Some of the leases require tenants to vacate for filming. That has got to be a hassle.

Tenants of the Sachs property also cannot provide their own furniture or their own internet (sounds like a college dorm). So why live there, you ask? All but one of the units (namely the owner's penthouse) is subject to RSO, and there's a dwindling supply of RSO units on the market. Plus, it's a great modernist complex.

Hermann Sachs' former painting studio, referred to in listings as the "Music Room", has a tenant who is required to leave her home for filming. Many of the shoots take place in the studio because of its fantastic double-height ceilings. I am told that the owner once used the Music Room for filming while the tenant was away, without notifying her first.

The Music Room's previous tenant, by the way, was Judith Sheine. Sheine happens to be an architect, professor of architecture, and the world's foremost living authority on Schindler.

Before the film shoots, there were short-term rentals in the complex. If you're reading this, you probably already know that's not allowed with RSO homes.

Here's what the tenant shared (this is condensed from a much longer email):

Finegold purchased the property with his wife, Gitu Bhavnani, and mother in July 2013. Two of the tenants, Judith Sheine and the person living in the Sachs penthouse, were evicted around May 2014. Finegold and his wife were listed separately on the title. I have heard Finegold testify in a City hearing that this allowed them to do two owner-occupancy evictions. Nonetheless, Finegold told Judith Sheine that they did not plan to move into her place, it was to be an events space. His web site for the property,, talks about something similar. A third person was evicted a year later from the Mistress’ Apartment for a resident manager, emptying the building. The two-unit building, 1826 Lucile, was already vacant. They began work on both in 2015. From 2014 to 2015, Finegold got support from the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council to apply for a Historical Cultural Monument designation. It is my understanding that the SLNC supported the effort with some caveats, including that he not short-stay the units.
During this time, Finegold and his wife did not live on the property. I never spoke with the wife even once, not even the time she and Finegold came to my studio downtown. To my knowledge, she never communicated with any tenants about landlord matters, Finegold was the sole face of ownership. She died February 2017. She never moved to the Sachs. Work on 1826 Lucile finished in May 2017 and Finegold moved into the larger unit in that two-unit building later that year.
To my knowledge, short stays are currently not happening at the Sachs. That ended at approximately late 2020, during the pandemic. The two-day rentals became two-week or two-month rentals for digital nomads.

So the owner and his wife did a legal maneuver that allowed them to evict two tenants (one in an RSO unit) to allegedly move in themselves, did not actually live on the site, and disclosed that the former art studio was going to be an event space instead of an RSO unit. An amateur couldn't make this up.

To clarify, there were a total of three RSO households evicted (the painting studio/Music Room, the Mistress' Apartment, and the penthouse).

But wait, there's more!

In 2016, Finegold bought out a tenant in another building, 1830 Lucile, who had been listing her place on AirBnB. He took over the listing, just changed the host to his name. He also applied to convert five un-remodeled units plus the painting studio to a Bed and Breakfast. There is a minor provision of the Zoning Code that allows for such conversions of designated historic buildings at the Zoning Administrator’s discretion. It limits the conversion to five guest rooms. Finegold’s idea, which was presented to the SLNC, was to remove the kitchens from five units and rent them for $750 to $950 a night. The painting studio would be the manager’s residence and a “gallery” for events and where breakfast would be served. Three households would have lost their homes, six units would have been taken off the housing market. When Finegold spoke at the SLNC he said, six units out of the thousands of rental housing units in Los Angeles was mathematically insignificant. Tenants and the neighborhood fought the proposal. The opposition seemed overwhelming, even CD13 came out against it.

Ever notice how the people who claim losing a few RSO units is "insignificant" are almost always people who don't have to worry about finding a new place to live, let alone on a tight budget? Because I sure as hell have.

Another woman...had a limited-term lease that apparently allowed her to short-stay when she was away. Or perhaps they shared the income...After [she] left, her unit became a second full-time AirBnB with Finegold as host. At SLNC hearings on the Bed and Breakfast proposals, Finegold’s AirBnB listings became a point of contention. He said he only did 30-day stays and it was his legal right to list there, though residents could see that this was not always the case.
Housing Code Enforcement has property work logs where inspectors and others write comments about inspections at or communications on a property...[someone] filed a complaint about the AirBnB listings around 2017...Finegold showed the inspector “3-day notices” he had issued the tenants--curious because at that point he was the only one listing short stays—-and the case was closed.

Curious indeed.

The city Zoning Administrator denied the Bed and Breakfast conversion in 2017. Work finished on the main building in summer of 2018 and Finegold moved to the Sachs’ penthouse. The newly remodeled Maid’s Room in that building became a third AirBnB.
Despite the ZA determination against converting the property to a Bed and Breakfast, Finegold appears determined to have an events property with overnight stays...Finegold began listing spaces for events on Peerspace in 2019, or perhaps earlier. From 2019 to 2020, the painting studio and penthouse were listed for short-stays as well as events on the luxury short-stay site, Boutique Home. The painting studio was in regular rotation, like a hotel. The listings on Boutique Home noted that, in addition to hosting events—both indoor and outdoor—the property could sleep six overnight, two in the penthouse, two in the painting studio and two in the Maid’s Room/Live to Give unit. He removed the Maid’s Room from AirBnB and created a non-profit short-stay with the income dedicated to research into his late wife’s blood disease, Live to Give. The listing is still up on the web site. The Boutique Home listings have been taken down but pdfs of the listings are attached. The interview, since taken down, where Finegold talks about the opposition to his remodel (he does not mention the BnB or that the apartments are under RSO, just that they are “Schindlers”) and talks about removing the Schindler charm they didn’t want was on the Boutique Home website.

I'm all for charity fundraisers, but not and never at the expense of a needed RSO home. And by the way, a mutual friend discovered that "If you check the Registry Search Tool on the California Charities Registry, Live to Give shows up as existing in some capacity, but not registered as a legal nonprofit."

That sure seems odd.

I heard an interview with James Elmendorf of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) on KCRW in June 2019. He was critical of the short-stay economy and how it was affecting the real economy, in particular housing. In 2019, it took an income of $70K to barely afford the average 1-BR in LA. There were 40,000 homeless people in LA and something like 50,000 short-stay rentals.
Finegold recently testified in a deposition, under oath, that he stopped doing short-stays in 2018. This is not true. The two AirBnB units in 1830 Lucile were active until September 2019 when Finegold did some work on them and put them back on the regular market just before the city began enforcing the newly adopted short-stay ordinance, November 1, 2019. The other listings remained active.
Finegold moved away without notifying anyone in April 2021, which left the property without a required resident manager (the one who moved in for the 2015 eviction had moved out.)...Construction on our building had begun in December 2020 and he was faced with another major building overhaul. Per his Mills Act contract with the city, that work on our building should have been completed in 2017.

(I was told quite a bit more about the owner's personal life and his financials, but it's beyond the scope of this blog. I am told that he did move back on site in March 2022. Still, he left the complex with no onsite manager for almost a year, which is a big no-no.)

Well, at least the short-term rentals stopped, but there's more dirt on the film shoots:

The film shoots began around 2019 and were initially quite frequent and almost always unpermitted. That changed 18 months to a year ago. The owner started getting film permits, but always used his address (the penthouse), never the address for the painting studio where the shoots typically occurred. I suspect using his unit’s address was done was to avoid a paper trail that might create problems with the RSO. I wrote to FilmLA. They wrote me back that this was a real problem, would violate the insurance coverage, for one. My guess is that his lawyers have a copy of that letter. He now gets permits. The shoots are less frequent. The latest permits list the right address.


There's quite a bit more, specifically about the condition of the Sachs Apartments vs. the owner's obligations to the Sachs Apartments. But because this is already rather long, it's going to be a separate entry.

1807-1817 Edgecliffe Drive and 1826-1830 3/4 Lucile Avenue, Silver Lake.

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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