Santa Monica Landlord To Repay Tenants More Than $18,000 In Overcharged Rent

Thursday, 6 Feb 2014, 9:11:00 AM

Brenton Garen

A Santa Monica couple with a small child will have their rent reduced from almost $3,000 per month to just over $1,200 per month, after a successful Santa Monica Rent Control Board civil enforcement action.

According to a statement from the Board, landlord Seyed Mehdi Bathaii was sued for illegally charging a market-rate rent at 1115 Euclid Street.

Santa Monica Rent Control Board General Counsel J. Stephen Lewis said the suit was settled this week, with Bathaii not admitting wrongdoing, but agreeing to lower the tenants’ rent by more than half as well as reimbursing the tenants for more than $18,000 in overcharged rent.

The suit alleged that Bathaii evicted a long-term tenant so that Bathaii’s mother could move into the tenant’s unit.

According to the Board’s complaint, Bahaii falsely claimed that his mother needed the tenant’s unit because she was disabled. Then, rather than move his mother into the unit, the suit alleged, Bathaii made improvements to the unit and rented it for more than double the controlled rent.

The settlement provides that the new tenants, a couple with a small child, will have their rent reduced from $2,950 per month to $1,254. The tenant who was displaced in 2011 chose not to participate in the Board’s settlement.

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