Tenants of ‘slum-like’ apartments settle case for over $4 million
Tenants must submit claims now to receive compensation for uninhabitable conditions, property loss
– Former tenants of Grand View Apartments in Paso Robles have settled their lawsuit for the slum-like conditions that existed during their tenancies.
Stephanie Barclay of San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF) and Allen Hutkin of the Hutkin Law Firm filed a class-action lawsuit in May 2019 against the owners and manager of Grand View Apartments alleging that they knowingly allowed their tenants to live in uninhabitable, vermin-infested conditions for years. Barclay and Hutkin obtained a temporary restraining order from the court preventing Grand View Apartments from continuing to collect rent while the apartments remained uninhabitable. Eventually, the court allowed the owners of Grand View Apartments to evict the tenants and sell the property, leaving many tenants without housing.
Through SLOLAF’S leadership, and with the assistance of the non-profit community, including People’s Self-Help Housing, Paso Robles Housing Authority, and Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo, most tenants were relocated to safer and improved housing. In addition, members of the community donated approximately $60,000 to assist Grand View tenants.
Grand View closed, but SLOLAF, the Hutkin Law Firm, and noted trial attorney Jude Basile pressed forward with the lawsuit to ensure just compensation for former tenants. The case settled for a total value of more than $4 million.
The court is expected to approve the settlement at a hearing set for Dec. 15, 2021. In its Sept. 15 order granting preliminary approval, Judge Tana Coates concluded by saying “The court appreciates the time and efforts counsel have spent in obtaining a real, tangible settlement for the class members.”
Under the terms of the settlement, former Grand View tenants must submit a claim to receive compensation. Funds will be distributed based on a formula primarily based on length of residency at Grand View between May 2015 and February 2020. Former tenants who had especially severe injuries or property loss sustained at Grand View may apply for enhanced compensation.
“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,” said Stephanie Barclay, legal director for SLOLAF. “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.”
Anyone who lived at Grand View Apartments from May 2015 through February 2020 may submit a claim to receive payment of settlement proceeds. “If former tenants have not contacted us yet, they should do so now,” Barclay said.
Anyone who was a tenant at Grand View Apartments any time after May 2015 can contact the Hutkin Law Firm at (805) 544-1500. The attorneys will meet with former Grand View tenants at Paso Robles City Downtown Park by the gazebo on Sunday, Sept. 26 from 2 – 4:30 p.m. to help fill out claim forms.