September 2008 – Update on Recent Events at Lincoln Place

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A: Building and Safety – Compliance with Dept. of Building and Safety Notices:

With the help of the office of Councilman Rosendahl, Council District 11, February 13, the Dept. of Building and Safety issued a Notice to Abate Vacant Structure on all 35 parcels at Lincoln Place with vacant buildings. It said that the owner, AIMCO, must clean up the property and make it safe, AIMCO must file a Statement of Intent, and, AIMCO must repair, replace and maintain the property in good condition. 

AIMCO asked for a modification and the Building and Safety Commission granted AIMCO’s request to remove all fences at Lincoln Place and install wrought iron gates at every entrance for security purposes on the vacant buildings only. The tenants asked for repair of the roofs, foundation vents, and other issues in compliance with municipal code 91.8104 This is still open. 

B: Current Tenants in Malibu court:

In May, AIMCO dismissed the unlawful detainer cases against the 11 households currently living at Lincoln Place, and  affirmed its right to evict the tenants under the 2005 Ellis Act which the CEQA (Calif. Environmental Quality Act) court of appeal declared were unlawful. AIMCO was hoping that because they had dismissed the cases that the tenants’ attorneys would be deprived of attorney fees. However, Judge Sarmiento granted the motion for attorney fees and AIMCO will have to pay both attorneys.

C: Evicted 2005 Tenants (ABC tenants with current appeals):

Six cases have been assigned to Judge Biderman and 31 cases will return to Judge Connor. The tenants are demanding that AIMCO allow these 37 households to return to their units immediately. Under the law, a reversal of a judgment returns the parties to the position they were in before the judgment. Therefore, the court can return these tenants to the position they were in on July 2005 (inside their units). AIMCO, of course, will oppose this motion.

D: Mass Action – Case for restitution and damages:

The tenants’ case for restitution and damages (mass action) was filed on January 4 and amended on March 14 at the Santa Monica courthouse. Because the case involves 191 plaintiffs (147 households) who represent “the chased out,” “the locked out,” and “the hold outs,” and where the facts and legal issues are diverse and the damages are specific, the case was determined to be “complex” and was transferred to the Central Civil West Courthouse (“complex court”) on June 24.

E: AIMCO preparing units:

In mid-June, AIMCO began removing the barricades from the stairwells of the vacant buildings and inspecting the vacant units. Since then, the current tenants have reported people with clip-boards walking throughout the property and climbing up on the roofs. When the L.A. Housing Dept. inspector, he confirmed that AIMCO is getting estimates for making repairs to the property. Whether this new action by AIMCO is in response to the Building and Safety Dept. notices or the recent win by the tenants, we do not know.

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