Landlord Gets Jail Time in Unlawful WeHo Eviction Case

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The City of West Hollywood prevailed in court against West Hollywood landlord Anne Kihagi, who has been ordered to serve five days in Los Angeles County Jail and to pay the City’s attorney fees and costs. Kihagi was held in contempt of court on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, for violating a preliminary injunction that prohibited her from re-renting certain units at her property, located on N. Crescent Heights Boulevard.

The preliminary injunction was obtained after the City of West Hollywood intervened in a case against Kihagi, filed by a former tenant, who contends he was wrongly evicted when Kihagi used the Ellis Act as a pretext to terminate all of the tenancies in the building. Kihagi violated the injunction by re-renting the former tenant’s unit.

The Ellis Act is a California State Law enacted in 1985 that allows property owners to evict tenants without cause if they intend to remove properties from the residential rental market. Displaced tenants and local governments may file a legal action against landlords if the property is returned to the rental market without following the Ellis Act’s restrictions.

Ellis Act reform is a priority for the City of West Hollywood. The City has advocated at the state level for reform or repeal of the Ellis Act, and the City has a strong commitment to taking actions at the local level to increase tenant protections wherever possible. Shortly after the City was incorporated in 1984, the West Hollywood City Council adopted a landmark Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which was one of the strictest tenants’ rights laws in the nation.

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