Judge Blocks Barrington Plaza Evictions, Citing Legal Violations

Owner Douglas Emmett Inc. Sought to Evict Nearly 600 Tenants Last Year, Citing Safety Upgrades

The eviction of hundreds of tenants at the Barrington Plaza apartment complex failed to meet state and local legal requirements, a judge tentatively ruled last week, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Owner Douglas Emmett Inc. sought to evict nearly 600 tenants last year, citing the need to install fire sprinklers and other safety upgrades following two major fires. Since the eviction notices, hundreds of residents have left, but more than 100 remained and the tenants association filed suit, claiming the evictions were unlawful. They emphasized their fight to preserve rent-controlled apartments in an increasingly expensive neighborhood, the L.A. Times reported.

Superior Court Judge H. Jay Ford III’s tentative ruling allows the tenants to stay in their homes. The civil case trial occurred in April at the Santa Monica Courthouse.

Two laws were pivotal: the Ellis Act, which permits landlords to exit the rental business, and the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which controls rent increases and outlines Ellis Act applications. Ford ruled that the owner did not meet the requirements of either law.

The judge found that Douglas Emmett Inc. intended to renovate and re-rent the units, not remove them from the rental market. The company can still contest the ruling, which is not final.

The L.A. Times reported the Barrington Plaza Tenants Association as celebrating the ruling by stating, “This victory is a testament to the strength, resilience, and unity of our community. The court has recognized our rights and ruled in our favor.”

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