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Santa Monica Sues Landlord For Taking Away Disabled Tenant's Parking Spot

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A Santa Monica landlord's attempt to push a disabled tenant from her rent-controlled apartment by taking away her parking spot has backfired, leading the city to file a lawsuit on her behalf.

The city of Santa Monica filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Solyman Khalili, the landlord of 1031 16th Street, alleging he violated the Tenant Harassment Ordinance and the new Housing Anti-Discrimination Ordinance. The Santa Monica Mirror reports that the lawsuit alleges that Khalili took away her parking spot without any justification and forced her to park in the street. Last week, the city sued another landlord under the Tenant Harassment Ordinance after a failed attempt to evict a rent-controlled tenant.

The Santa Monica Daily Press identified the tenant as Parvin Farrahi. In August of 2014 Khalili took away Farrahi's parking spot, although medical documents show that Farrahi requires a parking spot close to her apartment due to a disability. The city attorney's office stepped in on behalf of Farrahi and attempted to resolve the issue before resorting to legal action, but saw they had no choice as time passed. "By January of this year, it was clear they were not going to give her the space back," said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades. "In the rare situation where a landlord refuses to make an accommodation that's reasonable and needed, we will turn to the courts under our new law."

According to the lawsuit, Farahi has been living in the rent-controlled unit since 1998 and pays $555 per month. In the fall of 2013, she rejected a buyout offer from Khalili for $5,000.

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The Housing Anti-Discrimination Ordinance was passed in November, and "protects tenants with disabilities from housing discrimination" according to the city. Recent revisions to the Tenant Harassment Ordinance have also made it easier for the city to take legal action against landlords.