Saturday, April 15, 2017

Pro Bono Lawyers Step In To Assist Eight Low-Income Families To Fight Back Against Landlord Accused Of Disregarding Local Rent Ordinances & Seeking To Illegally Give Them All The Boot

In Los Angeles, California, Curbed (Los Angeles) reports:
  • Eight families who live in an eight-unit apartment building in Historic Filipinotown are suing the building's owner, alleging that it is harassing tenants to get them to leave so that it can renovate the building for sale, in violation of city ordinances.

    The civil suit was filed March 22 in Los Angeles County Superior Court against BRE Investment LLC; its owner, David Bramante; and several other related defendants by the Inner City Law Center(1) and attorneys representing the families who rent in the building. The tenants are characterized as long-term or low-income tenants, many of whom are retired, elderly, disabled or monolingual Spanish speakers.

    The building at 240 North Robinson Street sits just a couple of blocks east of where Temple Street and Silver Lake Boulevard meet.

    The suit argues that Bramante and his company have ignored requirements under LA's rent stabilization ordinance and other laws to relocate the building’s tenants under a tenant habitability plan, which was implemented in March 2016 under the building's previous owner to relocate tenants during temporary construction work that year.
    ***
    The suit seeks to stop any evictions or forced relocation of tenants, asks that Bramante and his company follow the law and correct any uninhabitable conditions, and seeks damages and compensation for tenants, among other things.

    For now, the tenants remain in the building, though there are multiple evictions pending, Inner City Law Center lawyer David Aigboboh told Curbed.

    Bramante acknowledged showing up on March 23 with moving trucks to assist tenants in two of the units to relocate to alternative housing temporarily under the tenant habitability plan (at Bramante's expense), so that his company could renovate the units, but said the tenants (assisted by the Inner City Law Center and LA Tenants Union) declined to leave.

    Aigboboh characterized the attempted move as a "forcible eviction," which Bramante denied.
For more, see Tenants sue Historic Filipinotown apartment building owner for harassment (The long-term, low-income residents say they're being forced out).
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(1) Based on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, Inner City Law Center is a non-profit law firm providing legal representation to the poor in connection with housing issues, veterans’ benefits, homelessness prevention, disabilities, and legal challenges faced by people with HIV/AIDS.

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