SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Attorney filed a lawsuit against a landlord who repeatedly entered the home of a tenant without notice or justification. According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, the City Attorney obtained a preliminary injunction against Ronald Walden, a local landlord on allegations that he repeatedly came into his tenant’s home without notice or justification.
The order, signed by Santa Monica Superior Court judge Lisa Hart Cole on June 2, halts Walden’s access to the house while the case is pending before trial.
Walden, who lives in Simi Valley, owns a three-bedroom house on Pacific Street in Santa Monica. He rented the house for several years, to various tenants. In some cases, four to five tenants at a time have occupied the three-bedroom home.
The City Attorney’s office filed the tenant harassment lawsuit on April 24, 2017, after its investigation unveiled multiple complaints by current and former tenants that Walden committed acts of harassment and discrimination at the property. Tenants alleged that Walden:
-Rents exclusively to young women, typically ages 18-25
-Refuses to allow male visitors to the property
-Regularly violates the tenants’ privacy by entering the house with no prior notice or legal justification, simply using his key to enter and remaining at the house for long periods of time
Landlord-tenant law in California states the privacy rights of tenants, noting while a landlord owns the property, it is the tenant’s home. The law has strict limits on when a landlord can enter a tenant’s home: for certain repairs, showings, and emergencies. In those situations, a 24-hour advance written notice is required (except in emergencies).
“We hope this injunction helps give the tenants some peace and maintains the status quo until trial,” said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades.
Andrea Cavanaugh, the City Attorney’s Consumer Affairs Specialist, completed the investigation that led to the filing of the case in court. The City Attorney’s Office is expected to continue to monitor Walden’s compliance with the injunction as it prepares the case for trial. No trial date has been set.