SoCal Community Settles Harassment Complaints

March 20, 2014
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The owners and managers of a 49-unit community in Santa Monica, Calif., recently agreed to settle complaints filed by a group of disabled residents with Section 8 vouchers. In complaints to city officials and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), the residents accused the community of harassment, fair housing, and privacy violations, including:

  • Discriminatory actions and harassment against disabled Section 8 tenants;
  • Loss of parking required due to disabilities;
  • Failure to provide reasonable accommodation to tenants with disabilities;
  • Illegally increasing parking fees, removing parking spaces from disabled tenants, and selling those spaces to the general public at a premium;
  • Encouraging Section 8 tenants to relocate by unlawful means; and
  • Offering commissions to the on-site managers for persuading tenants to vacate and taking parking away from tenants.

After an investigation, the owners and managers agreed to a settlement with city staff, LAFLA, and a law firm representing some residents. Among other things, the settlement requires the community to adopt written policies and procedures, conduct fair housing training, improve record keeping, notify the city regarding Section 8 tenants, and restore parking for disabled tenants.

"The tenants LAFLA represented all suffered from some form of disability and were formerly homeless individuals, and had we not intervened on their behalf, they may very well have become homeless again," LAFLA Senior Attorney Denise McGranahan said in a statement. "They deserve to live in a safe and affordable home, close to the many services that allow them to continue to live independently. This agreement, which was entered into as a compromise, provides them a robust set of protections against arbitrary displacement."

The owners and manager entered into the agreement as a compromise and without admitting liability, fault, or guilt. The City Attorney’s Office, along with LAFLA, will continue to monitor certain provisions of the agreement for a period of 10 years.

Source: Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles