It’s been a long road, but Abigail and Marvin – with the help of Bet Tzedek – have finally seen victory!
The family had been renting a converted garage since 2008 and, although it was not a legal rental, it was affordable. Marvin and Abigail lived in this unit with their young son and Marvin’s two daughters. In September 2010 the Sheriff posted a ‘Notice to Vacate’ on the door. The bank that held the mortgage on the property had foreclosed against the landlord, who lived in the main house on the property. The bank was taking action, without serving proper notices on the tenants, against the defaulting owner as well as the tenants.
Bet Tzedek was successful in overturning the default judgment, and spent the next 14 months trying to obtain relocation assistance for the family, which the bank was obligated to pay under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (“LARSO”) because the unit was illegal and could not be brought up to code. Despite being notified by several city agencies and Bet Tzedek that the family was owed compensation for relocation, the bank refused to pay. In the meantime, the bank failed to evict the prior owner from the main house and she constantly harassed the family, including turning off the utilities on multiple occasions.
Ultimately, in December 2011, Bet Tzedek filed a lawsuit against the bank for the relocation fees, additional expenses, and penalties based on the bank’s failure to comply with its obligations under LARSO. In response to the lawsuit, the bank finally offered to settle the case, agreeing to pay for all damages, penalties, and fees that were requested.
The family, who is expecting a baby in May, has now relocated to a beautiful, spacious 4 bedroom apartment in a secure building. It has a playground for the children and is within walking distance of Marvin’s work. They plan to save a portion of the settlement for a down payment on a house next year.
Bet Tzedek was honored to be there to help.
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