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Housing | Landlord Tenant | CEQA | HOA | Airbnb

 

  • Two consolidated landlord-tenant lawsuits in which: first, the landlord filed an unlawful detainer action to evict tenants alleging failure to quit the premises at the end of the tenancy; and second, tenants filed an action alleging landlord breached the warranty of habitability, retaliated against tenants, and failed to comply with a municipal rent stabilization ordinance. Resolved globally by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by prospective tenants, the parents and conservators of a disabled adult son, alleging that landlords, who initially intended to rent their property to them, denied them rental housing when they learned of son’s disability and his Section 8 housing voucher. Tenants then secured less desirable housing elsewhere, paying for upgrades that they would not have needed if they could have moved into the subject property, and suffered emotional distress. They alleged that landlords violated the housing disability and source of income discrimination provisions of the FEHA, as well as the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Unfair Practices Act. Landlords denied these claims. They alleged that although the subject property was initially listed, it had to be delisted, because their former tenants had delayed their move-out date. When the property was relisted later, landlords rented it to the most qualified applicants. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by tenants, husband and wife, alleging that their landlord violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and negligently hired an apartment manager who discriminated against wife’s disability by denying them a larger apartment, because wife had an emotional support dog. Landlord denied its policy prohibited emotional support dogs, that it offered tenants a larger apartment with no restrictions on the emotional support dog, but that the tenants had declined the offer. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by mentally disabled client alleging that both the landlord and its institutional tenant, a program responsible for transitioning client from foster care to housing, violated the Fair Housing Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unruh Civil Rights Act. Client alleged that defendants discriminated against her by barring her emotional support dog. When client was forced to place her dog elsewhere, the animal was attacked and underwent surgery, exacerbating client’s mental disability. The program alleged that client failed to produce a doctor’s note to show she was entitled to an emotional support dog. Landlord cross complained against the program for indemnification. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

  • Action by a septuagenarian visitor alleging premises liability against a commercial building owner. En route to her doctor’s appointment in the building, visitor was severely injured when she struck the lobby’s floor-to-ceiling glass window under the mistaken belief that it was an open doorway. Visitor alleged building owner was negligent in breaching its duty to post markings on the glass to prevent such foreseeable injuries. Building owner alleged that it would be obvious to a reasonable person that the framed and tinted window was not an open doorway, and that no one else had walked into the window in the 40 years of the building’s history. It further alleged that, when visitor was at the same location and accompanied by her daughter just a week earlier, she had used a clearly marked doorway for ingress and egress without incident. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Appeal by finance lender and broker challenging the trial court’s sustaining of a demurrer without leave to amend in favor of a county on a quiet title action. Lender-broker sought to reduce its payoff amount from the Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE) Program, alleging that the assessment lien impeded its title in preparation for a sale. The trial court held that lender-broker failed to exhaust its administrative remedies, that the PACE assessment is a tax, and that county is immune from such tax actions. County alleged lender-broker failed to exhaust administrative remedies, and that California law prohibits the impediment of tax collection. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by prospective tenant alleging that landlord refused to rent to him, discriminated and retaliated against him because of his race, national origin and color (dark skinned Latino of Argentina and Guatemala origin) in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act, Unfair Competition Law, intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress upon him, and intentionally interfered with his prospective economic relations. Prospective tenant had a high credit score and references, and was willing to pay the full price of the rent as advertised. The property owner and third-party brokerage agent denied the allegations, asserting that they did not rent to plaintiff because he had allegedly spoken disparagingly about the premises, tried to renegotiate for a lower rent, and attempted to delay the move-in date. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by tenant alleging that her landlord and managing agent violated the Fair Housing Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unruh Civil Rights Act by discriminating and harassing against her on the basis of her familial status (family with children), and other torts. In an earlier attempt by landlord on an unlawful detainer action, tenant prevailed. The landlord alleged its policy of no noise or use of wheel toys in the common area was applied equally to all tenants irrespective of familial status, and that tenant’s husband and child had disrupted tenants’ quiet enjoyment of their properties. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by tenant alleging that landlord failed to accommodate his disability or engage in the interactive process after tenant was injured and temporarily confined to a wheelchair. Tenant alleged that landlord discriminated against him because of his disability under the FEHA, Disabled Persons Act, Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Los Angeles Civil and Human Rights Law. Landlord alleged that all building elements of its 2018-constructed apartment met the ADA, the California Building Code, and that the building had been inspected and permitted by the city. When the wheelchair lift required maintenance, management immediately called the manufacturer and repair persons. Any delay in finally obtaining service was not under landlord’s control, because of business closures under the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting supply chain’s backlog on parts, and the Christmas holiday. A temporary halt in the operation of an interior elevator was similarly caused by an area-wide power outage. Moreover, landlord alleged that tenant had not paid rent for 18 months under the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by deaf homeowner alleging that her homeowners’ association (HOA) refused to reasonably accommodate her with an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter at two board meetings.  Instead HOA told homeowner that she would have to pay for and bring her own interpreter.  Homeowner alleged HOA engaged in disability discrimination under the Fair Housing Amendments Act, Fair Employment and Housing Act, and Unruh Civil Rights Act.  HOA alleged its board had engaged in the interactive process by promising to speak slowly at the meeting, and alleged it was not required to provide an ASL interpreter at its board meetings.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by landlords alleging that a city violated their constitutional right to contract and imposed excessive fines under a void municipal ordinance banning short-term residential rentals, including AirBNB.  The municipality alleged it properly exercised its powers to enact legislation for the general good of the community.  The city further alleged its citations and fines were appropriate to have the desired deterrent effect.  Resolved through mediation.

 

  • Appeal by commercial landlord, a medical building, challenging the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of commercial tenant, a physician, alleging breach of lease, holdover tenancy, and failure to pay common area maintenance.  Physician cross-complained alleging that the lease had expired eight years ago, that for 13 years he had timely paid rent as a month-to-month tenant to three prior landlords and the current landlord, that no treble rent was due, and that landlord owed physician attorneys’ fees. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Petition for writ of mandate by a historic preservation group alleging that a municipality and its planning department violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by approving a high-rise, mixed-use residential project among historic landmarks.  Real party in interest, a developer, alleged the environmental issues raised by petitioners were fully addressed in the administrative process.  Settlement following mediation.

  • Action by former tenants, husband and wife, alleging former landlord and managing agents discriminated against them on the basis of their familial status, race and national origin, retaliated against them for complaining, unfairly evicted them using the 2+1 occupancy standard that was not applied to other tenants, and caused them emotional distress. The landlord and managing agents alleged their policy of no loitering or playing in common areas and enforcement of occupancy standards were applied equally to all tenants irrespective of race, national origin or familial status. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by non-profit organization against landlord alleging disability discrimination in housing, because landlord allegedly did not feel comfortable using voice telecommunications relay service or video relay service in communicating with testers posing as deaf applicants, and because landlord had allegedly provided different information to able-bodied and disabled applicants. Landlord alleged that applicants were given the same information regardless of disability and that hey were not denied housing. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by Section 8 tenant alleging landlord and managing agent engaged in breach of the implied warranty of habitability, negligence, premises liability, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and race discrimination in housing and public accommodations. Landlord and managing agent alleged tenant failed to timely pay rent. Resolved in mediation.

 

  • Action by tenant and non-profit organization against landlord and managing agent alleging national origin, familial status, and immigration status discrimination in housing. Landlord alleged the tenant on record had provided a fraudulent Social Security number to obtain the tenancy, members of the household had disturbed other tenants and vandalized the property, and tenant had unlawfully sublet the garage for inhabitation by others. Equitable relief reached in mediation.

 

  • Action by applicant for tenancy in an apartment complex against landlord, a municipal housing authority and individual defendants, alleging retaliation for having complained in the past about discrimination under California and federal fair housing laws. Housing authority alleged breach of a prior settlement agreement between the parties under which applicant had promised to never again apply for tenancy at the same apartment complex. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by tenants alleging landlord and management company discriminated against families with children under federal and state fair housing and public accommodation laws. The landlord and management company alleged their policy of no loitering or playing in common areas was directed to all tenants, not only families with children. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by tenants alleging landlord discriminated, harassed and retaliated against families with children under federal and state fair housing and public accommodations law, violated their rights of privacy, and engaged in unfair business practices. The landlord alleged its policies were neutral and tenants were evicted for failure to pay rent. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

  • Action by non-profit organization and prospective tenant alleging landlord discriminated against persons with disabilities under federal and state fair housing and public accommodations laws. The landlord and management company alleged plaintiffs lacked jurisdiction, because the property was constructed for occupancy prior to the applicable period and has not been remodeled. Reached global settlement of this and another pending matter in mediation.

 

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