Poor housing conditions continue at L.A. apartment complex, despite 2,000 citations
Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, November 19, 2007
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – For the second time in three weeks, police in Santa Monica have used a sting operation to catch landlords who were ignoring city ordinances designed to protect tenants from dangerous conditions.
In both cases, the landlords were issued citations and admonished by the city’s Code Enforcement Department, which works under the purview of the mayor. The fines are a fraction of the amount the city is seeking, which is believed to run to the tens of millions of dollars, including penalties for failure to report code violations.
The city issued 1,000 citations and admonishments Tuesday for violations at Mission Hills Apartments, a $3 million, three-block complex located on the northwest corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Third Street. Tenants at the complex are unable to pay their electricity bills, and residents have complained for months about flooding, high rates and a host of other problems.
The city issued 1,000 citations by officers from the Santa Monica Police Department, working with the Code Enforcement Division, Department of Building Inspections and Development Services, the Department of Neighborhood Services, the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, and the Department of Public Works, which has been in charge of enforcing the city’s Ordinances.
The city, which has been embroiled in litigation with Mission Hills since last year, alleges that the units “are occupied and habitable, but are uninhabitable due to the lack of basic maintenance,” said a Santa Monica Police Department officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We will be issuing citations to those who do not clean the units,” said Sgt. Dennis Schramm, who is in charge of the department’s enforcement efforts with Mission Hills.
The officers were aided in the arrest of the owner and manager of Mission Hills by the Department of Public Works. On Nov. 1, department officials issued notices to the tenants