I've advised more clients than I care to remember about the dangers of messing with the city (Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, wherever) when it comes to tenants rights. More often than not, tenants who have been firmly entrenched in rent controlled apartments for years or even decades know the laws better than you could ever hope to. And tenants in the know know that the city always favors them, pretty much (especially in West Hollywood - I would NEVER want to own income proprerty there).
Unfortunately for a Santa Monica Realtor who is also the owner of the subject property here, he not ONLY broke tenant harrasment laws, but he also did it to a senior. YIKES! Why didn't he just BURN his money up front? What makes is so bad is that as a Realtor, he should have known the chance he was taking. I'm guessing he did, and just didn't think he'd get caught.
Anyway, here's what happened. Stacey Vales and his wife Megan own a 4 unit income property on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. Just after they purchased the property, they induced an 82 year old woman named Winifred Goodman into vacating the unit under the pretense that they were moving into the unit as owner-occupants. After relocating to Simi Valley, Ms. Goodman found out she'd been deceived, and that the unit had been re-rented for $2,400/mo. She'd been paying $529.
The Vales' were sued by both the City of Santa Monica and Ms. Goodman, resulting in a settlement before the case could go to trial. Under terms of the settlement, the Ms. Goodman was paid $160,000, and the City of Santa Monica received $40,000, which will go to it's Consumer Protection Fund.
Let this be a lesson to you, kids. If you're a landlord, don't be trying to pull a fast one. Tenants are not stupid, and they WILL watch to see what happens after you evict them.