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Tenants being evicted from Paso Robles apartments at center of lawsuit over unsafe conditions

Posted at 6:32 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-31 00:04:04-04

The Paso Robles apartment complex sued by tenants over alleged filthy conditions is reportedly evicting residents despite a restraining order issued earlier this month.

Court documents filed Thursday by Stephanie Barclay, the attorney representing the tenants of Grand View Apartments, allege the landlords are unlawfully evicting residents and trying to interfere with the ongoing civil suit.

The owners of the property, Ebrahim and Fahimeh Madadi, are named as defendants in the suit.

A San Luis Obispo Superior District Court judge granted a request Aug. 8 for a temporary restraining order, barring the Grand View Apartments property managers from collecting rent until improvements were made to the complex.

In a class action suit filed against the property owners in July, tenants described filthy conditions that are uninhabitable and unsafe.

"We have bed bugs, roaches, rats, and spiders," said one female tenant who wished to remain anonymous.

The woman, who pays $1,600 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, said she and the 50 neighboring households received the notice last week that said she had 60 days to vacate the property.

"We don't have another place right now. That's why we still here," the woman said.

The woman said housing options are limited for many who live in the complex due to their immigration status.

Barclay said in court documents that tenants were recently approached by representatives of the apartments who asked the tenants to sign a document promising they'd move out by Oct. 19, agree not to vandalize the property, and give up any right to sue the property owners.

In return, the contract said residents would have their security deposit returned and receive an additional $1,000.

The document is written in English and many of the residents said they were unable to understand what they were being asked to sign.

A copy of that document, along with a copy of the eviction notice, is included in the court filings.

David Hamilton, the attorney representing Grand View Apartments, said in court filings that his clients are evicting residents due to safety and health concerns associated with the property. According to Hamilton, the owners intend to close the business.

Barclay contested Hamilton's claims, noting in court documents that the property manager processed an application from a woman who paid a deposit and first month's rent sight-unseen on Aug. 6, while the judge was considering the request for a restraining order.

That tenant, Reyna Leon, filed a statement with the court saying she moved into the apartment to find mold, cockroaches, and bedbugs, which she tries to kill with alcohol to prevent them from biting her one-year-old baby.

Barclay said it's clear the property owners don't value the safety and wellbeing of tenants but are only interested in making money.

"After a few brave tenants asserted their rights after years of threats and intimidation, years of being blamed for abhorrent conditions at Grand View, years of having their rents raised every four months while the problems persisted, now defendants say they are closing their shop and evicting everyone," Barclay said in her filings.

According to tenants who spoke to KSBY under the condition of anonymity on Friday, the landlords have done little to improve conditions since the lawsuit was filed.

"They put the smoke detector. That's the only things they put in like two or three days ago," a woman who lives in the building said.

Installation of smoke detectors in rental properties is required under California law.

A court hearing is set for Sep. 3 to determine whether the property managers are in contempt of court for evicting the residents and another hearing set for Sep. 11 will determine if and when the apartments can be closed down.