Home>Articles>SoCal Landlord Group Sues State, County, City Governments In Lawsuit

SoCal Landlord Group Sues State, County, City Governments In Lawsuit

‘Rental properties have been unlawfully and illegally commandeered without compensation’

By Evan Symon, September 16, 2020 6:20 pm

On Tuesday, a group of apartment owners and landlords sued California, Los Angeles County, and several Southern Californian cities over several tenant eviction protections enacted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Unlawfully and illegally commandeered without compensation

The numerous plaintiffs want damages of at least $300,000 each to offset the lost rent and income from tenants who have not paid rent in the last six month due to the state, county, and local eviction protection ordinances, as well as freeing up landlords and property owners from being bound by law to comply with the ordinances. The suit itself said that the rental properties “have been unlawfully and illegally commandeered without compensation, just or otherwise.”

The suit also noted  “While purportedly intending to provide relief to tenants, the ordinances and other enactments are illegal, imbalanced and significantly infringe on their constitutional rights. Undoubtedly, a significant percentage of the tenants who have not been paying rent will not pay back the arrearages.”

Los Angeles County, California. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Many landlords and rental property owners have felt loss of income in recent months, especially landlords with only one or two rental properties who are renting for retirement income.

“A lot of us don’t know what to do,” Susan Chang, a Los Angeles landlord who also assists other independent landlords, explained to the Globe. “At least three I know are now looking to sell. I myself, I had to dig into my savings. An older couple who has a small block of apartments is paying off costs with their social security.”

“We understand that these tenants can’t pay and can’t be forced out until at least February because of COVID-19. But where is our assistance? How do we get money from this. The buck is supposed to stop at the government, not in the middle.”

“A lot of properties will be moved into ownership groups and that means rents are going to go up. With how many are in line for eviction now, next year will be a mess. And that’s not even getting into the rise of insurance costs, which is just stinging even more.”

“Right now though we are suffering. We’re doing everything we can to save our buildings. You really don’t know how frustrating it is until you walk past a tenants apartment who have said that they haven’t been able to pay since April because of COVID-19, and then you see them get a new TV from Amazon.”

“We need to start getting rent again.”

City, tenant response to the lawsuit

California and Los Angeles County, as well as the cities of Agora Hills, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood, have largely not reacted to the new lawsuit.

Los Angeles County issued a statement after numerous press inquiries: “Los Angeles County is committed to protecting the health and safety of its residents through an unprecedented public health and economic crisis.”

Tenant groups blasted the lawsuit, saying that tenants were the ones most at risk.

“We literally have no jobs with whatever unemployment we’re getting going to food, medical, and other expenses we need to live,” said LA tenant group leader Gloria Fernandez in an interview with the Globe. “How are we to blame? If we’re out, they’re out too. And we’ll pay when this is all over.”

Most of the defendants have known since Friday that a lawsuit was coming, with several cities reportedly meeting with lawyers to discuss the case over the weekend.

“There was an emergency Zoom call over the weekend before it spilled out into the press,” an employee with one of the cities who didn’t wish to be named, said to the Globe. “I had to manage a few things around it, and when it was over the few people in the office told me that ‘nobody is happy’ about the lawsuit.”

“A lot of cities around here, including my own, are facing tight budgets and budget cuts right now, and the last thing they needed was a potentially expensive lawsuit or an also expensive settlement.”

The latest development in the long fight over eviction moratorium dates this year

Earlier this year, evictions, as well as rent and mortgage moratoriums, were expected to restart in early September. However, with many Senate and Assembly bills trying to push that date out further, debate over an extension grew more tense in late August. Governor Gavin Newsom finally signed AB 3088 hours before the moratorium was to end, extending moratoriums until January 31st, as well as adding other renter and mortgage payer protections.

The moratorium is now due to be challenged by the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, is expected to be heard soon.

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9 thoughts on “SoCal Landlord Group Sues State, County, City Governments In Lawsuit

  1. For all of you landlords out there who voted for Democrats, especially those of you who have a mortgage to cover, remember this in November. Democrats do not respect property rights; in fact, they only believe in seizing your property, by whatever means necessary. They are more than happy to facilitate large banks’ acquisition of your property by foreclosure, while they gain control of high-value neighborhoods.

  2. I know tenants who are fraudulently taking advantage of this law. The law is so loosely written, and in favor for tenants, that tenants below 100k income do not even need to prove themselves for financially affected in COVID-19 by providing proper bank statements, etc. Even though tenants are doing jobs, they are claiming that they are affected by COVID-19 financially and NOT paying rent. This is creating burden on small landlords. Democrats have ruined the entire state of California. They have created this tenant protection law not for tenants, but rather for themselves to get votes.

  3. If the government can commandeer someone else’s property without compensation by declaring an “emergency,” the government can commandeer your property by declaring and “emergency.”

  4. If CA had done what South Dakota did and not shut down businesses, all of this would have been a moot subject! The percentage of Californians infected with the China virus is so infinitesimal that it was a cruel joke to shut the state down! And now to continue this outrageous stuff, just so Gov Gruesome Newsom can flex his muscles, is criminal! RECALL NEWSOM!!!

  5. Tenants are abusing this terribly…..I have tenants that are just ripping off the system, these people need to be put out, even on the street, I gotta pay my mortgage’s…..too bad…the state does not care about us, why should I care about corrupt

  6. LA tenant group leader Gloria Fernandez in an interview with the Globe. “How are we to blame? If we’re out, they’re out too. And we’ll pay when this is all over.”

    That is definitely not going to happen, the great majority of tenants in arrears, even if re-employed, will never make any effort to repay past rent, instead belly aching about what a rough time they’ve had and that they can’t afford it.

    I have a tenant now who had decided to just stop paying rent, no communication, and even has moved in a boyfriend, which according to the rental agreement she signed is in violation of that agreement.

    The whole thing with CDC ban, encouraged by Trump, is the strange contention that so many will become homeless and that somehow that will ‘spread the virus’. Many tenants will just move back in with family or friends. And being homeless, to those to which this would happen, does not mean they have to commingle with lots of people and spread the virus.

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