This article was posted on Friday, Sep 01, 2023

In a housing discrimination case brought by the Santa Monica City Office that involved a family member with disabilities, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Sepe-Wiesenfeld has signed a stipulated judgment and injunctions against the two defendant-landlords, The injunction protects future tenants with disabilities from discrimination and harassment.

In case No. SC125490, the city alleged that the defendants refused to provide reasonable accommodations to a family that included a daughter with disabilities. The allegations included refusals to provide accommodations related to parking and medical equipment, followed by alleged harassment in the form of blocking parked cars and improper entries into the subject unit.

Over the course of the litigation, the court granted the city’s requests for seven different injunctions, the last of which prohibited the landlord from managing the subject unit and coming within 50 feet of the apartment building. Soon after the city obtained that injunction, the defendants’ insurance company paid the family one million dollars in the family’s related discrimination case against defendants. When the family alleged that defendants’ harassment continued, defendants also personally paid a second settlement to the family. Under the terms of the stipulated judgment, the defendants must do all of the following:

  • Obey the city’s Tenant Harassment Ordinance and Anti-Housing Discrimination Ordinance.
  • Adopt a written, city-approved policy for handling requests by tenants with disabilities for reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications.
  • Attend a fair housing training every year for the next five years.
  • Pay $45,000 to the city.

The family has moved out on their own terms, and the previous injunctions have been dissolved.

“The city has passed some of the strongest tenant protection laws in the state,” said City Attorney Doug Sloan. “Our cases like this one show that the city takes the next step and actually enforces these laws to protect the community from discrimination and harassment, whether it is for one family or many.”

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L.A. County Supervisors to Create a Legal Aid Program for Renters

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have unanimously agreed to create a program that will supply taxpayer-funded attorneys to renters facing eviction. This vote is the first step in establishing the program, known as the “Right to Counsel”Ordinance.

The program will use public funds in private legal disputes, with an estimated annual cost of up to $60 million.

The first phase would only apply to low-income renters in unincorporated areas of L.A. County but will eventually expand to all cities within the county.  The expected time frame is approximately 10 months to finalize the program into an ordinance and then it will be voted on. A countywide program for other cities in the county is expected to happen by 2030.

Landlords throughout Los Angeles County should stay abreast of this proposed ordinance’s progression. 

New L.A. City ADU Program Saves Homeowners $20,000 to $30,000!
If you have been thinking of building a flat or guest house in your backyard, a new program for homeowners in the city of Los Angeles offers a way you can now save tens of thousands of dollars off your costs.

On July 13th, City Councilmember Kevin de León announced the city’s first free, pre-approved Accessory Dwelling Unit Standard Plan, called the YOU-ADU plan.

The new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standard Plan is FREE and officials say it will save homeowners $20,000 to $30,000 in architectural and design costs. And since the plan has been approved by various city departments already, it is expected to shave about two to four months off the time it takes to obtain permits.

As a typical ADU project costs around $150,000 to $200,000, the goal is to save homeowners time and money. This plan would not only help the housing shortage, but would enable more homeowners to rent out an ADU to generate rental income or have a relative move onto their property.

City Councilmember Kevin de León stated “Given the fact that Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the nation, we need more housing, plain and simple,” he added.

De León commissioned the firms Kadre Architects and Lehrer Architects to develop the YOU-ADU plan. When built, the ADU will measure about 455 square feet, will feature a gabled roof and will be designed to include solar panels for more sustainable living.

Nerin Kadribegovic, principal of Kadre Architects, said there are about 500,000 single-family residential lots throughout the city. Of those, about 186,000 properties are considered ready to go, meaning the homeowner could easily use this plan to build an ADU on their land. The remaining property owners could also use the plan, he said, but may need to address additional issues as part of the approval process if their properties are located in a hillside area, are part of a historic district or come with other restrictions.

The City Council also recently passed an ordinance, which the mayor signed in July, that exempts all affordable housing units from counting toward a threshold that triggers when a developer, who is proposing a housing project, must undergo a time-consuming “site plan review.” City officials hope that exemption will encourage developers to build more housing.

For more information about the FREE ADU Standard Plan or to download a copy of the plan, visit

Housing Rights Center Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against San Fernando Valley Rental Property Owner

The Housing Rights Center (HRC) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Los Angeles tenant who experienced a decade of racial discrimination and harassment while renting a studio apartment in Canoga Park, California. 

The property manager committed widespread violations of the tenant’s civil rights, including: delaying repairs to his unit, warning the  tenant that they were “watching him,” using racially charged language such as, “move your Black a**,” demanding that the plaintiff stop letting people of his “kind” visit his apartment, installing a metal bar to prevent him from parking in his assigned space, as well as other discriminating practices. 

Over the years, the tenant documented the civil rights violations he experienced while leasing the rental unit. The property manager was recorded using racial epithets in a video that went viral on social media. The tenant subsequently complained of racial discrimination by his property manager to HRC.

 In January 2023, HRC’s litigation team filed a federal lawsuit on the tenant’s behalf against the property manager and building owner. Part of the demands in this case include requiring the owners and apartment manager to cease their unlawful, anti-Black discriminatory policies and practices that have caused irreparable harm to the tenant. Additionally, the tenant seeks the establishment of an order requiring the defendants to take affirmative steps to provide equal housing opportunities to all future tenants regardless of their race. 

Racial discrimination continues to be one of the top three categories of discrimination in complaints reported to Fair Housing organizations annually. As the nation’s largest non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to securing and promoting Fair Housing, HRC supports this effort to secure court-ordered protections prohibiting continued violations of his rights under the Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.