Friday, May 05, 2017

Out-Of-Control California Landlord Gets Five Days Jail Time For Contempt Of Court In Connection w/ Allegations By Ex-Tenant That Ellis Act Was Improperly Used As Pretext To Illegally Boot Him From Apartment

In West Hollywood, California, WEHOville reports:
  • The City of West Hollywood has prevailed in court against West Hollywood landlord Anne Kihagi, who has been ordered to serve five days in Los Angeles County Jail and to pay the city’s attorney fees and costs.

    Kihagi was held in contempt of court on Feb. 21 for violating a preliminary injunction that prohibited her from re-renting certain units at her property, an eight-unit building located at 1263 N. Crescent Heights Blvd.

    The preliminary injunction was obtained after the City of West Hollywood intervened in a case against Kihagi, filed by a former tenant, who contends he was wrongly evicted when Kihagi used the Ellis Act(1) as a pretext to terminate all of the leases in the building. Kihagi violated the injunction by re-renting the former tenant’s unit.
    ***
    Kihagi also owns apartments in San Francisco, where she has been charged with illegally evicting tenants in what a city official said was the “most egregious” conduct by a landlord that he had seen in 13 years.

    An article in 2015 in SFGate.com reported that San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against Kihagi, alleging she “waged a war of harassment, intimidation and retaliation” to force tenants from rent-controlled apartments she owned in San Francisco so that she could raise the rents to market rates.(2)

    Herrera said Kihagi bought apartment buildings whose tenants were paying below-market rates and tried to force them out. Herrera said that Kihagi offered to pay tenants to move. If they declined her offer, Herrara said that Kihagi claimed that she or relatives were moving into the building. Under the state’s Ellis Act, a rental property can be removed from rent control quickly if it is to be occupied by its owner or his or her family. Otherwise the property must remain off the market for a specified period of time before it can be re-rented at market rates.

    Herrera said Kihagi also tried to force tenants out by setting strict rules for their usage of storage rooms, laundry facilities and other things and was known to cut off utility services such as electricity and water.
For the story, see WeHo Landlord Sentenced to Jail for Ellis Act Violation.
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(1) According to the story:
  • The Ellis Act is a California State Law enacted in 1985 that allows property owners to evict tenants without cause if they intend to remove properties from the residential rental market. Displaced tenants and local governments may file a legal action against landlords if the property is returned to the rental market without following the Ellis Act’s restrictions,

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