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Santa Monica Files First Lawsuit under Anti-Discrimination Law

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 12, 2015 -- A Santa Monica landlord’s alleged attempt to force out a disabled tenant in a rent-controlled unit by taking away her parking spot has resulted in the City Attorney’s Office filing its first lawsuit under the city’s anti-discrimination law, officials said Wednesday.

Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades said the City tried to resolve the dispute without litigation after the tenant came to his office in August.
 
“We help tenants and landlords resolve dozens of disability-related cases every year,” Rhoades said. “But in the rare situation where a landlord refuses to make an accommodation that’s reasonable and needed, we will turn to the courts under our new law.”

The first court hearing in the case, which alleges the landlord violated Santa Monica’s Housing Anti-Discrimination Ordinance and the Tenant Harassment Ordinance, is scheduled for May 26, he said.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Santa Monica Superior Court, the landlord, Solyman Khalili, took away the tenant’s parking space without justification, forcing her to park on the street.

The City Attorney’s Office did not name the tenant. Nor did it disclose the nature of her disability. The tenant provided medical documentation showing that her disability required a parking space close to her apartment, City officials said. 

The City alleges that despite the documentation “and the reasonableness of the parking request, the landlord refused to restore the tenant’s parking space.”
Khalili could not be reached for comment.

Rhoades said the case against Khalili is the first filed under a new Santa Monica ordinance that protects tenants with disabilities from housing discrimination.

 Enacted in November, 2014, the law requires landlords to provide tenants “reasonable accommodations based on their disabilities,” the City Attorney’s Office said.


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