City Attorney Files Criminal Complaint Against Landlords for Tenant Harassment, Public Nuisance and Zoning Violations

January 9, 2019

City Attorney Files Criminal Complaint Against Landlords for Tenant Harassment, Public Nuisance and Zoning Violations

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has filed a criminal complaint charging Adam Shekhter, Saul Reuben Robin, Edward Jose Valentin, My Suite, LLC, 1238 10th Street LLC, and 1433 Euclid LLC (“defendants”) with tenant harassment, maintaining a public nuisance, and violating local zoning laws.

The Code Enforcement Division of the City’s Planning & Community Development Department investigated this case after receiving numerous complaints from the public.  The investigation revealed that the defendants knowingly disobeyed repeated instructions from Code Enforcement, failed to fully comply with the City’s tenant relocation order, and used unlawful tactics – such as illegal buyout and eviction notices – in an attempt to unlawfully terminate the lawful tenancies of one or more tenants.  The investigation further revealed that the defendants had operated group residential housing rental operations without first obtaining required use permits from the City.  Following the investigation, the case was referred to the City Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. 

On December 18, 2018, Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh filed criminal charges against the defendants. On the same day, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tamara Hall ordered the defendants to appear in court on February 13, 2019, to answer the charges.

“The City of Santa Monica has consistently dedicated policies to producing, protecting and preserving housing and combatting tenant harassment in our community,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen.  “City prosecutors and enforcement staff will take action when individuals knowingly violate local law for personal financial gain at others’ expense.  We are committed to enforcing the City’s laws and ensuring that victims from all income levels and backgrounds can receive equal justice under the law.”

City law protects tenants against unlawful harassment by landlords.  Landlords may not, in bad faith, influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental housing unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion.  City law further requires a use permit before shared living quarters that constitute a group residential use can be offered for rent in a multi-unit residential district. 

The City Attorney’s Office encourages any person experiencing similar or related violations to immediately contact the Code Enforcement Division at (310) 458-4984 or visit their website to file a complaint.

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