The Real Deal Los Angeles

BRE Investment hit with tenant harassment allegations: report

Tenant lawsuit claims BRE ignored rent stabilization laws in order to renovate and sell building
March 28, 2017 05:19PM

The building in the Westlake area (Redfin) and BRE’s David Bramante (BRE)

The tenants of an eight-unit apartment building at 240 N Robinson Street in Historic Filipinotown are suing its owner, an entity connected to the brokerage BRE Investment. In a lawsuit filed last week, the tenants claim BRE ignored the city’s rent control laws in an effort to evict them, Curbed reported.

The lawsuit — filed against BRE, its CEO David Bramante, and several other related defendants — alleges that Bramante pressured the eight families that live in the building into moving out so he could renovate and sell the property — an assertion that Bramante denies, according to Curbed.

Redfin shows the property as under contract to sell, with Bramante as the listing agent, but The Real Deal could verify whether that information is correct. Bramante could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the suit, Bramante and the previous owners of the building created a tenant habitability plan — required by the city’s rent stabilization ordinance — that proposed relocating tenants to non-existing housing, such as a cemetery, Curbed reported.

But Bramante told Curbed that this was a mistake made under previous ownership that had been fixed more than a year ago.

BRE acquired the building in April 2016 for $1.25 million, property records show. It managed the property before it bought it outright, according to Curbed. The suit claims that BRE and the previous owners gave half the tenants eviction notices between March and December 2016.

The eight families who live in the building are being represented by the Inner City Law Center and other attorneys. [Curbed] — Cathaleen Chen