Case Involved Tenant Harassment and Covid Eviction Moratorium
By Dolores Quintana
In a significant legal judgment involving the City’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance, COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium, and Home-Sharing Ordinance, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Whitaker has approved a stipulated judgment and injunction against SoCal Investment Company, LLC, a Defendant-landlord, as brought forward by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.
The City v. Youseph Golshirazian et al., Case No. 21SMCV00201, alleges that the Defendants orchestrated a campaign to displace long-term, rent-controlled tenants from a 30-unit residential building. The allegations include a range of misconduct, such as fraud, intimidation, baseless evictions during the pandemic surge, violation of the COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium, failure to provide required disclosures in buyout offers, and illicit rental of units as vacation rentals despite ongoing attempts to evict long-term tenants.
In November 2020, the Defendants filed eviction cases against five tenant households during the initial wave of the pandemic while the Santa Monica Eviction Moratorium was in force. The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles represented the tenants in these eviction defense cases, which the Defendants subsequently dismissed.
As part of the settlement agreement with the City, Defendants Hanokh Golshirazian, Youseph Golshirazian, and SoCal Investment Company, LLC have undertaken the following measures:
- Distributed and mailed notices of tenants’ rights to all residents in Santa Monica properties under their ownership or management.
- Participated in City-approved landlord-tenant training sessions.
- Paid $125,000 to the City, earmarked to support housing protection efforts within the City.
- Agreed to comply with tenant protection and vacation rental laws, subject to a minimum penalty of $10,000 for each violation proven in court for a period of four years.
According to the stipulated judgment, the landlord is now obligated to abide by Santa Monica’s tenant protection laws, encompassing the Tenant Harassment Ordinance, mandatory reporting of attempted evictions, vacation rental regulations, and the eviction moratorium. City Attorney Doug Sloan emphasized, “The City has enacted some of the most robust tenant protection laws in the state. We have gone to great lengths to safeguard tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued our commitment to tenant protection ever since. Cases like this underscore our unwavering resolve to enforce these laws for the benefit of our community.”
Additionally, a separate and related case filed by the victim tenants, represented by the law firm Elder & Spencer, LLP, has also been successfully resolved.