City of Santa Monica Reaches Settlement Agreement with Landlords Accused of 'Wrongful Eviction'
Landlords will provide tenants with $7,500 in rental credits and pay the city $15,000
May 20, 2021
Santa Monica has resolved another tenant-landlord dispute and banked $15,000.
The City reached a settlement with Marshall Reddick Real Estate and Balthazar Investment Group – landlords of a five-unit apartment building at 820 Bay Street – "to resolve allegations of tenant harassment and wrongful eviction," Santa Monica officials announced on Monday.
Under the settlement agreement, the landlords will provide the tenants with more than $7,500 in rental credits, pay Santa Monica $15,000, and attend a tenant-harassment training program, officials said in a press release. "The landlords and the tenants previously entered into a separate settlement agreement providing additional compensation to the tenants."
In its lawsuit, Santa Monica alleged that the landlords made two tenants move out of their apartment throughout October 2019 so they could perform discretionary upgrades, even though the tenants did not want to relocate. The discretionary upgrades included replacing the carpet and painting the interior, city officials said.
"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."
The lawsuit also alleged that the landlords 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, city officials said.
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.