According to tenants and Allan Jones, the Santa Ynez listing agent, Joe Angerman, who built the six-unit apartment building at 16458 Sunset Boulevard in 1955, was just “the nicest guy.”
The building was stable, and the last “new” tenant moved in more than 10 years ago. The people living there were a community, an extended family, looking out for each other.
If something needed to be changed or added, they simply got permission from Angerman who lived in the Santa Ynez area.
Although not all the changes were codified in the lease, the tenants kept estoppel records. (An estoppel is a legally binding agreement between the tenant and the landlord that prohibits someone from taking a position that is contrary to what they have previously stated.)
Then Angerman died, and the property came on the market in September 2022 for $3.499 million. It was listed as a 5,363-sq.-ft-building on a 9,964-sq.-ft.-lot and included a six-space garage. In July, Realtor Kevin Sabin (Keller Williams Advisors) sold it for $2 million to himself and Lance Zuckerbraun.
When Jones, the listing agent, was contacted about why a property in Pacific Palisades on an almost 10,000-sq.-ft. lot would sell for $2 million, which is low by Palisades standards he said, “It was a challenging sale” and directed this editor to Sabin.
According to Redfin the July median price for a single-family home in Pacific Palisades was $3,075 million. A single unit- a 2-bedroom, two-bath condo on Sunset – recently sold for $1,241,269.
The Sunset unit houses 13 people, with rents ranging between $1,200 and $1,500, which means it is considered affordable housing by Los Angeles City.
The residents who live there include three seniors, 83, 81 and 75, and a family with two children, who have IEPs at local schools.
Tenants said that rents had not been raised in 10 years. If anything went wrong with the apartment, one of the residents, who had a lower rent and served as an ad hoc maintenance man, would fix it.
In the past 10 years the owner has not done any deferred maintenance, that was left to the tenants. Tenants have kept track of everything and said they have shared the estoppel agreements with new owners.
Almost as soon as new ownership took over the property, tenants said they were harassed.
Harassment according to the law is attempting to coerce the tenant to vacate with offer(s) of payment.
Tenants allege that the new owners came and told some of them they would need to move out because apartments were needed for family members from the Sabin family. Tenants were told Zuckerbraun might be going through a divorce and also needed a place to live.
Circling the New tried to contact Sabin and Zuckerbraun by phone, several times, to confirm portions of this story, but neither man answered. A text message was also sent to both individuals, but there was no response.
According to the law, a landlord (or relative) can move into a rental unit within three months after existing tenants are out, and then must live there for two years. If that does not occur, that will be considered evidence that the landlord acted in bad faith.
If there is a manager on the premises, the landlord can evict that person and replace with a new manager.
According to the law, there are “protected tenants.” Provisions of Subdivision 8. of Subsection A. of Section 151.09 lists those people as:
- Any tenant in the rental unit has continuously resided in the rental unit for at least ten years, and is either: (i) 62 years of age or older; or (ii) disabled as defined in Title 42 United States Code Section 423 or handicapped as defined in Section 50072 of the California Health and Safety Code; or
- Any tenant in the rental unit is terminally ill as certified by a treating physician licensed to practice in the State of California.
Any tenant who was terminated, must be offered the rental unit first after a person is vacated, provided they put it in writing with the landlord within 30 days of eviction.
A landlord can also offer a buyout agreement, which means that the landlord does not have to offer the apartment back. But “a tenant shall have the right to cancel a Buyout Agreement for any reason for up to 30 days after execution by the landlord and the tenant without any financial obligation or penalty.”
The tenants say the new owners have threatened to do away with parking, threatened to take away small sheds that were okayed by the prior owner. They say that the new owner shouted at residents and refused to take a current rent check.
One tenant had landscaped the courtyard, but a lock was put on the outdoor water hose by Sabin and Zuckerbraun, so plants could not be watered (the lock has now been removed).
The washer and dryer were removed from the small laundry building by the newly hired Howard Management company. (CTN tried to confirm that the company had been hired by Sabin and Zuckerbraun, but no one from the company called back.)
Tenants said the maintenance people from Howard Management company came on September 2 for the laundry machines, but when the men saw the 83-year-old using them they left. Sabin and Zuckerbraun came back with the company to oversee the removal on September 5.
Tenants said they protested, but Sabin told them they would receive a $24 a month deduction on their rent. The nearest laundromat is in Santa Monica. Tenants said they have not received a reduction but would rather have a machine, so they don’t have to drive. (Sabin and Zuckerbraun did not respond to CTN’s query about the removal or the amount tenants were told they could deduct from the rent.)
At least four tenants have filed complaints with the Los Angeles Housing Department and now have case numbers.
Tenants have said they have received numerous papers put on their door written by Sabin’s lawyer Dennis P. Block, who is listed as an eviction attorney click here. His telephone number is 800-77E-VICT.
CTN called Block to confirm that he was Sabin’s and Zuckerbruan’s attorney. Block’s secretary knew the property and asked which unit this editor wanted to know about. I repeated, I was from a newspaper and just wanted to confirm if he was the men’s attorney, the secretary said “we have no comment,” and hung up the phone.