The City of Santa Monica reached a settlement with Marshall Reddick Real Estate and Balthazar Investment Group, landlords of a five-unit apartment building located at 820 Bay Street, to resolve allegations of tenant harassment and wrongful eviction.
The City’s lawsuit alleged that the landlords made two tenants move out of their apartment throughout October 2019 so that the landlord could perform discretionary upgrades, even though the tenants did not want to relocate. The discretionary upgrades included replacing the carpet and painting the interior. The City alleged that the landlords abused their right of entry under California Civil Code section 1954; attempted to wrongfully evict the tenants without just cause; failed to provide legally required relocation benefits; and then raised the rent beyond the amount allowed by State law when the tenants moved back in.
Under the settlement agreement, the landlords will provide the tenants with more than $7,500 in rental credits, pay the City $15,000, and attend a tenant-harassment training program approved by the City. The landlords and the tenants previously entered into a separate settlement agreement providing additional compensation to the tenants.
“In Santa Monica, a landlord cannot force tenants to move out of their homes simply because the landlord wants to perform discretionary work,” said George Cardona, Interim City Attorney. “In this case, the landlords cooperated in the City’s investigation of allegations that they engaged in these types of illegal actions, and we were able to resolve the matter with significant compensation to the tenants.”
To file a tenant harassment complaint with the Public Rights Division of the City Attorney’s Office, visit smconsumer.org, or call (310) 458-8336.
submitted by Constance Farrell, Public Information Officer