Real Estate Newsletter: Tenants fight landlord in court


Welcome to the real estate newsletter. Late June brought a series of housing disputes – some serious, some so ridiculous and petty that we had no choice but to highlight.

First, seriousness. We dug through court records this week and reviewed a class action suit claiming Geoffrey Palmer, one of Los Angeles’ top landlords, withheld security deposits from more than 19,000 tenants.

Four years of legal battles later, Palmer agreed to a settlement and payment offer of $12.5 million, which could average $500 to $600 per tenant.

A feud in Laguna Beach, however, had no winner. It was between two wealthy guys: billionaire Bill Gross and tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq, who took umbrage when Gross erected a 22-foot blown-glass sculpture between their homes and covered it with light-obscuring netting. seen.

The neighbors clashed in court and both claimed victory after a judge ordered the net removed. Also, the sculpture cannot be illuminated after 10 p.m. We are the real winners though, as we profit from the pettiness of two rich guys who apparently have nothing better to do. At one point, Gross allegedly lambasted the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song on a loop to harass his residential rival.

The biggest celebrity stories of the week have arisen on the ocean and in the valley. On Las Flores Beach in Malibu, Finneas O’Connell, the Grammy-winning producer and older brother of Billie Eilish, unloaded his turnkey cottage for $5.66 million.

Records show he moved to Los Feliz after creating a miniature resort by buying two neighboring properties in recent years.

Wiz Khalifa is hoping for the same success in Encino, putting his modern residence on the market for $4.5 million. The listing comes just a month after he bought a larger Encino home a few miles away for $7.62 million.

Finally, we looked at “affordable housing”. The quotes are needed because an LA Times study found that more than half a dozen affordable housing projects for 600 families in California cost more than $1 million per apartment to build. That’s a record number, and the expensive trend means far fewer affordable apartments are being built relative to need.

As always, while keeping up to date with the latest news, visit and like our facebook pagewhere you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

The owner agrees to reimburse the security deposits

The Orsini, left, is a massive residential and commercial development that sits at the junction of the Pasadena Freeway, Harbor Freeway, and Sunset Boulevard north of downtown Los Angeles.

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Prominent Los Angeles landlord Geoffrey Palmer has agreed to pay $12.5million to settle a class action lawsuit accusing his company of withholding security deposits from more than 19,000 tenants when they moved out of his resorts of apartments.

The settlement, which goes before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle on July 18 for preliminary approval, could mark the end of a four-year legal battle that has pitted the tenants against Palmer’s company, GHP. Management Corp.

Court documents alleged that the company — a subsidiary of GH Palmer Associates, one of Southern California’s largest landlords with more than 15,000 apartments in 23 Southern California complexes — withheld security deposits for decades. years to thousands of tenants by charging repair and clean-up costs without properly informing residents.

The battle of the rich neighbors ends without a winner

Exterior artwork by Bill Gross viewed from adjacent property by Mark Towfiq.

A dispute over a $1million outdoor sculpture at billionaire Bill Gross’ Laguna Beach home has escalated with neighbor Mark Towfiq, with both sides calling police, filing restraining orders and suing.

(Mark Towfiq)

Bill Gross’ infamous fight with his Laguna Beach neighbor over a 22-foot sculpture was the stuff of schadenfreude legend — at least for those who like to read about petty feuds between the rich.

The king’s declaration of retired bonds after the artwork was approved by the city looked like a victory lap, but in a long court battle that saw Gross and his neighbor, tech entrepreneur Mark Towfiq, fall accusing each other of harassment, there seems to be no real winner.

The result? Gross not only had to remove the protective netting around the sculpture, but also withdrew plans to install a permanent glass and steel cover in order to obtain a city permit for the piece in January.

Additionally, the blue glass arrangement of marlin, fishing globes, and cobalt-colored reeds cannot be lit after 10 p.m. after Towfiq complained about the glare.

It hardly sounds like the makings of a win after an argument that garnered global media coverage when Towfiq accused his billionaire neighbors of playing the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ theme on a loop to harass him after he complained to the city about the installation, writes Laurence Darmiento.

Finneas sells on the beach, heads inland

A chalet on the beach of Las Flores.

The cozy cottage spans 1,250 square feet and drops 42 feet of frontage to Las Flores Beach.

(engel.studios)

Finneas O’Connell – the Grammy-winning singer and producer best known for his collaborations with his younger sister, Billie Eilish – has sold his beach house on the sands of Malibu for $5.66 million.

The sale is a success no matter how you spin it. At $5.66 million, that’s $475,000 more than he paid for the property in 2020 and $160,000 more than he was asking when he put it on the market. in May. According to the Multiple Listing Service, he had an offer in hand a week after listing.

The buyer, the Times confirmed, is Jennifer Smith, an editor who founded C Magazine and is president and editorial director of Santa Barbara Magazine.

The rapper is hoping for a hit in Encino

A modern home with clean lines, open spaces and lots of wood and glass.

The modern residence combines clean lines, open spaces, and piles of wood and glass across 5,875 square feet.

(James Moss)

Rapper Wiz Khalifa is hoping for success in the San Fernando Valley, putting his three-year-old Encino home on the market for $4.5 million.

The list is no surprise; last month, the Grammy-nominated hip-hop star splashed out $7.62 million on a slightly bigger spot a few miles away.

Khalifa bought this one for $3.4 million in 2019, a year after it was built. Considered to have “transitional modern architecture,” the 5,875-square-foot residence draws the eye with a chic white stucco and rich wood exterior.

Affordable housing can cost over $1 million per unit

aerial view of buildings near the ocean

A public housing complex being rehabilitated at 2206 Great Highway in San Francisco.

(Paul Kuroda / For The Time)

According to Liam Dillon and Ben Poston.

The seven subsidized housing developments, all located in Northern California, have received state funding over the past two years and are either under construction or nearing opening. When completed, they will provide housing for over 600 families.

But their sky-high prices mean taxpayers are subsidizing fewer apartments than they otherwise could while waiting lists of tenants in need of affordable housing continue to grow.

“It’s untenable,” said Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D-Concord), who is drafting legislation to simplify state funding for affordable housing. “It’s not a sustainable model. We have to do something to reduce costs.

What we read

Tired: small house. Wired: even smaller house. Golden Gate Park got a charming surprise on Wednesday when an immaculate blue and yellow Victorian house appeared on a gnarled tree stump. No one knows how the dollhouse got there, and SF Gate has delved into the mystery.

Curbed talked to a threesome owners on their thoughts on the housing boom and let them speak up anonymously to get their honest opinions. Most of the story is an insightful and honest analysis of the trials and tribulations of being a landlord, but some of the quotes are a doozy. A memorable: “Honestly, why shouldn’t I [charge more]? If it’s the market? Because I’m supposed to be a good guy?

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