Landlord Douglas Emmett has been hit with another lawsuit over mass evictions of tenants at one of West Los Angeles’ largest multifamily complexes, the troubled Barrington Plaza, over fire concerns.
The publicly traded REIT made headlines in May for evicting tenants from more than 700 affordable housing units in Barrington. Douglas Emmett announced that evictions were needed to clear the way for a new $300 million fire sprinkler system to be installed in the more than 60-year-old high-rise. The owners say California’s Ellis Act gives them a legal right to evict.
The lawsuit, filed June 12 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks to block the eviction. Campbell & Farahani, representing the Barrington Plaza Tenants Association, accused Douglas Emmett of failing to comply with the Ellis Act, which provides landlords with legal protection to evict tenants if they move the building Take it off the rental market permanently.
In its financial filings with the SEC, Douglas Emmett made no statement to permanently remove Barrington Plaza from the rental market, the lawsuit said. It also told the City of Los Angeles Housing that it is “undecided” about the future use of Barrington Square, which would leave it open for lease.
Douglas Emmett’s representative, Eric Ross, has rejected the lawsuit’s allegations. Ross said the REIT followed the Ellis Act. Putting the units back on the rental market remains an option.
“(Ownership) of Barrington Plaza has been and will continue to be uncertain about the ultimate disposition of these units, and a number of options are being prepared, including rehabilitation of the complex to comply with all current fire and life safety requirements,” he said.
In May, a Barrington Plaza tenant filed another lawsuit against Douglas Emmett. The lawsuit alleges that the REIT neglected the fire safety of multifamily residential facilities for years.