SANTA MONICA—The city of Santa Monica announced in a press release on Monday, July 31, a case brought by the City’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance, COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium, and Home-Sharing Ordinance by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker signed a stipulated judgment and injunction against the Defendant-landlord SoCal Investment Company, LLC.
In City v. Youseph Golshirazian et al, Case No. 21SMCV00201, the city of Santa Monica alleged that, SoCal Investment Company, LLC engaged in a campaign to empty out a 30-unit residential building of long-term rent-controlled tenants. Allegations included fraud, intimidation, bad faith baseless evictions during a pandemic surge and in violation of the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium, failure to provide mandatory disclosures in making buyout offers, and renting units as unlawful vacation rentals after attempting to evict long-term tenants.
The defendants filed eviction cases against five tenants homes in November 2020, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the city’s Eviction Moratorium was in effect. The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles represented the tenants in defending the evictions and the cases were dismissed by defendants.
As a part of the settlement with the city of Santa Monica, Defendants Hanokh Golshirazian, Youseph Golshirazian, and SoCal Investment Company, LLC:
-Posted and mailed notices of tenants’ rights to all tenants in properties they own or manage in Santa Monica;
-Attended City-approved landlord-tenant training;
-Paid $125,000 to the City, to be used to support housing protection work within the City; and,
-Agreed to comply with tenant protection and vacation rental laws and to be subject to a minimum penalty of $10,000 for each violation proven in court for four years.
With this stipulated judgment terms indicate the owners must comply with Santa Monica’s tenant protection laws, including the Tenant Harassment Ordinance, the requirement to report attempted evictions, the vacation rental law, and the eviction moratorium.
“The City has passed some of the strongest tenant protection laws in the state,” said City Attorney Doug Sloan. “We made extraordinary efforts to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to focus on tenant protection since. Cases like this one show our willingness to enforce these laws to protect the community.” A separate and related case brought by the victim tenants, represented by the law firm Elder & Spencer, LLP, was also resolved.