SANTA MONICA—On Monday, May 17, the city of Santa Monica announced that they have reached a settlement with Marshall Reddick Real Estate and Balthazar Investment Group, landlords of an apartment building, to resolve allegations of wrongful eviction and tenant harassment.

It is alleged that the landlords made two tenants move out of their apartment in October 2019 so that the landlord could perform discretionary upgrades, which included replacing the carpet and painting the interior.

The city alleged that the landlords abused their right of entry by attempting to evict the tenants without a just cause; failed to provide relocation benefits; and then raised the rent beyond the amount allowed by state law when the tenants moved back in.

Under the settlement agreement, the landlords will attend a tenant-harassment training program and provide the tenants with more than $7,500 in rental credits, as well as pay the City $15,000. The tenants and the landlords previously entered into a separate settlement agreement providing additional compensation to the tenants.

“In Santa Monica, a landlord cannot force tenants to move out of their homes simply because the landlord wants to perform discretionary work,” said George Cardona, Interim City Attorney. “In this case, the landlords cooperated in the City’s investigation of allegations that they engaged in these types of illegal actions, and we were able to resolve the matter with significant compensation to the tenants.”