Would-be tenant sues landlord Mike Nijjar for housing discrimination

James Beasley and Fair Housing Council of Riverside County say owner lied about a unit’s availability

Riverside County (iStock)
Riverside County (iStock)

A prospective tenant and Riverside County nonprofit group have sued landlord Swaranjit “Mike” Nijjar and his company for allegedly discriminating against Black would-be renters.

James Beasley and the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County sued Nijjar and Group XIII Properties in federal court this month, according to LAist.

The suit claims that Beasley was a victim of discrimination and that Nijjar “directed, ratified, or condoned the discriminatory housing practices” alleged in the filing.

Nijjar’s various businesses control an estimated 16,000 units across Southern California, including Los Angeles County, mostly in low-income neighborhoods.

Beasley said he toured a unit at a Nijjar-owned building last March in Hemet, a city in the San Jacinto Valley. He said he pointed out to property manager Elisa Valerio that the unit had dirty carpets and peeling paint and that common areas were littered with garbage.

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The suit claims that Beasley later overheard Valerio use a racial slur in a conversation with her husband about him.
Valerio later told him that the unit was rented, but when Beasley asked friends to inquire about the unit, Valerio told them it was available.

The Riverside County district attorney sued Nijjar and his businesses in March for allegedly using forged and fraudulent paperwork to transfer titles on motor homes.

Separately, attorneys for one of Nijjar’s companies and his business associate Everet Miller are appealing the revocation of their broker’s licenses by the California Department of Real Estate.

[LAist] — Dennis Lynch