Keller Williams affiliate sued for back rent in Studio City

Author and podcaster Paul Morris’ agency allegedly owes $95K for office

Keller Williams Affiliate Sued for Back Rent in Studio City
Keller Williams Realty's Paul Morris and 12001 Ventura Place in Los Angeles (Getty, Coach Kato, Google Maps, Keller Williams Realty)

Commercial real estate company Transwestern has sued Forward Studio City, a brokerage affiliated with Keller Williams Realty, for about $95,000 in unpaid rent.

Transwestern filed an unlawful detainer suit Dec. 28 in Los Angeles Superior Court, after the defendant allegedly ignored a 10-day notice to pay rent on an office located at 12001 Ventura Place, Suite 404 in Studio City. The complaint requested past due rent, attorney fees as well as a forfeiture agreement.

The complaint from plaintiff’s attorney, Emanuel Law Firm, included a four-page unlawful detainer complaint form, as well as a copy of the lease. Forward Studio City has maintained an office at 12001 Ventura Place since May 2015, according to the complaint. The original lease was amended in 2018. It was extended to an additional 60 months which ran from September 2018 and expired Aug. 31, 2023. 

Base rent for the 1,500-square-foot space was $5,346 or $3.55 per square foot from September 2018 to August 2019. Rents increased to $6,024 or $4 per square foot from September 2022 to August 2023.

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More rent increases were on the way. According to a contract between Forward Studio City and its landlords, the parties agreed to an increase in base rent that more than doubled the monthly price to about $10 per square foot, or $15,500 in rent, which was scheduled to start in September. It was unclear when the defendant allegedly stopped paying rent.

Henrik Shaknazarian, a team leader for KW Studio City, which is part of the same entity as  Studio City Forward, said that his company was made aware of the lawsuit Jan. 12. “(We) are having our legal team look into this,” he said  He also noted that his company’s main office is not located at 12001 Ventura Place. It is located at 4601 Laurel Canyon Blvd. The  attorney for the plaintiff did not return requests for comment.

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12001 Ventura Place is a six-story tower constructed in 1986, according to a LoopNet profile. Tenants have included real estate firms such as Compass and Evolution Strategic Partners. The building is located on Ventura Boulevard, the San Fernando Valley’s main commercial street, in between the corners of Ventura Place and Radford Avenue. The office building is located just down the street from Radford Center Studios, the television production facility formerly owned by CBS that Hackman Capital Partners bought for $1.85 billion with plans for a $1 billion make-over.

Forward Studio City is helmed by Paul Morris, co-author of the book “Wealth Can’t Wait.” The  2017 book advises readers how to develop the “mindset” and habits of an entrepreneur, according to a synopsis on Amazon.com. He also produces the real estate podcast Radical Wealth Plan.

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