Attorneys representing former residents of the Grand View Apartments in Paso Robles say they've reached a $4 million settlement after filing a lawsuit over the living conditions at the complex.
The 54-unit complex on Spring Street was infested with roaches and bedbugs and tenants said their complaints about water leaks, flooding, broken windows, sewage backups, malfunctioning appliances, and a lack of functioning smoke detectors, among other issues, were not properly addressed.
In 2019, the San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF) and attorney Allen Hutkin of the Hutkin Law Firm filed a class-action lawsuit against the apartment complex owners on the renters' behalf.
After a judge ordered the owners to stop collecting rent from the tenants, the property was sold and everyone had to move out.
SLOLAF, People's Self-Help Housing, Paso Robles Housing Authority, and the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo assisted in finding new housing for most of the tenants.
The new owners renovated the property, which is now called Vista Robles.
Former Grand View tenants must submit a claim in order to receive part of the $4 million settlement. Attorneys say funds will be distributed based on how long a tenant lived at Grand View between May 2015 and February 2020.
Anyone who lived at the apartment complex during that time can submit a claim.
"We can't undo the harm that the tenants of Grand View Apartments suffered but we are very happy that they will receive some compensation for their suffering and property losses. We hope this case sends a loud clear message to other residential property owners that they need to provide clean, safe, habitable housing for their tenants," Stephanie Barclay, Legal Director for SLOLAF, said in a press release.
Attorneys believe there are about 250 tenants eligible to receive compensation and they are working to make contact with them.
They will be meeting with former Grand View tenants by the gazebo at the Paso Robles Downtown City Park on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to help fill out claim forms. Spanish translators will be available to assist.
Hutkin says tenants will need to provide documentation of their residency. That could include a copy of their lease, canceled checks or receipts from apartment management, a utility bill or mail received at Grand View.
Former tenants may also contact the Hutkin Law Firm at (805) 544-1500 for further assistance.
The court is expected to approve the settlement at a hearing on Dec. 15, 2021.