Do It Yourself

Yes, you can do it!

So you want to try to declare your own property a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument?

Here is the procedure, step by step:

  1. Obtain a Chain of Title. Go downtown to the Tax Assessor’s Office for these records.

  2. Obtain records of any permits on the property from Building & Safety’s Historic Records Department. You’ll need to know what your street was named at the time the permit was taken out, if that has changed. Charlie usually knows this, or has historic maps that he can refer to in order to be sure.

  3. Go to Norwalk and get the Grant Deeds. This is in the basement of the Records building. There is no one there to help you. You have to figure it out yourself.

  4. Get building permit dates from various publications such as the LA Builder & Contractor and the Los Angeles Daily Journal. The downtown Law Library has these on microfilm. These should show the architect.

  5. Review historical surveys. These surveys often have a wealth of information, but are not always publicly available (Charlie has these resources).

  6. Often, it is the wives that took out building permits. Who is the husband, and, more importantly, is he historic? Check the Los Angeles Public Library for telephone listings to find out who the husband is, and determine if the husband is a historic figure in Los Angeles. Here is another place it’s handy to have a Historian 4 Hire. Charlie might recognize a name that you would dismiss.

  7. Now comes the hard part. Does your property qualify? Is it better to present your home as an architectural heritage landmark or a historic landmark? You will need to make this determination when you make out your application.

  8. Fill out your Application.

  9. Appear before the Historic Cultural Commission at a hearing and present your case. Do you like talking in front of people you don’t know? Charlie has been working with many of these people for years. They know him and like him.

  10. If they ask you questions about architecture or Los Angeles history, will you be able to answer them? Charlie can.

  11. The Historic Cultural Commission visits your site. Charlie can help you prepare for this.

  12. Attend another hearing where the final determination is made. Be prepared to answer additional questions.

Now, if you are successful, you have a Historic Cultural Landmark and can file for property tax relief via the Mills Act.

If you’re declined, you’ve just wasted a lot of money for parking, money for gas, time filling out paperwork, hours figuring out how to look up records, hours spent trying to figure out how to use the microfilm viewers, and on and on. And you’ve made it harder for anyone to ever get a Monument on your building. 

Don’t do it to yourself! Just go with Charlie, the Historian 4 Hire. It’s not as expensive as you might think. Call Charlie and talk to him: 323-256-3593. He just told you how to do it yourself. He can tell you much more on the phone. Give him a call!