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Redwood Urban sued by former Hollywood rental complex tenants

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1724 Highland Avenue (Redwood Urban)
1724 Highland Avenue (Redwood Urban)

Three lawsuits by former tenants at a sprawling Hollywood apartment complex accuse the landlord of blatantly violating the city’s short-term rental ordinance.

Airbnb guests are said to have hosted parties over the development of 270 units, according to lawsuits recently filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The complaints indicate that owner Redwood Urban was operating a building that lacked the basic features necessary for human habitation.

The complaints come three years after Redwood Urban paid $ 132.5 million for a sprawling resort at 1724 North Highland Avenue. The seller was Essex Property Trust, which paid $ 120 million for the building in 2013.

Essex Property, which spent millions to successfully defeat a November 3 poll that could have led to increased rent control, is a defendant in the lawsuit. A company spokesperson referred all questions to Redwood Urban.

Redwood Urban responded with a statement that read in part: “Unfortunately, these three lawsuits are part of a growing effort to file complaints against landlords to promote leverage for tenants and their lawyers in these economic conditions. current difficult. We are confident that these unfounded allegations will be revealed as such. “

In one of the lawsuits filed in August, former tenant Yalezka Gia Lombardi detailed the plumbing and gas leaks, and alleged that Redwood Urban was trying to push her out in order to create illegal dormitories.

A complaint filed this month by ex-tenants Crystal Martin and Charmel Catrell make similar charges. They also say Redwood Urban continues to solicit short-term tenants and vacationers to operate the building.

The owner has doubled the number of short-stays, former tenants say, although Los Angeles cited the building in 2017 for illegal transitional occupancy of the hotel.

Airbnb guests allegedly caused thefts and break-ins of non-Airbnb units, the lawsuits said.

A city ordinance passed last year requires all short-stay guests to register with the city and states that they should only use their primary residence for short stays.

No apartments at 1724 Highland Avenue are registered on the city’s Airbnb platform, according to a city spokesperson. The city received a complaint in November 2019 about illegal short-term stays on the premises and responded with a warning letter to the owner.

City officials claimed in August that thousands of short-term rental units were being used illegally, but did not say how they would deal with the violations.

A report released in May by the City of LA Comptroller found that listings on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms had fallen 49% since the stay regulating ordinance took effect. of short duration in November.

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