Landlords Sabin and Zuckerbraun Push for Evictions

 

Six apartment units are located in a two-story complex behind the garages.

When we last left the dynamic duo of Kevin Sabin and Lance Zuckerbraun, they were trying to evict tenants from six apartments at 16458 Sunset Boulevard. Thirteen people lived in a 1955 building that Sabin and Zuckerbraun had purchased in July 2023 for $2 million. 

 

If only they could rid Pacific Palisades of this rent-controlled building, it might be possible to force people out of town who aren’t trust-fund babies. 

 

The first step was eviction. In order to evict tenants, the landlord can file that he or a family member is planning to move into an apartment “Declaration of Intent to Evict for Landlord or Family Occupancy.”

 

Saban, who lives in a $4 million 2,712 sq-ft-home in the neighborhood, claimed his daughter Francesca needed an apartment.

 

Zuckerbraun claimed to have marital issues and a divorce looming and would also need a unit. According to the July 27, 2023, document filed with Los Angeles Housing Department, they would move into two units on October 1, 2023.

 

The tenants in those two units were told that they were going to be evicted (perfectly legal) – or the owners could pay them to leave. The man who had been paying $500 a month and doing apartment maintenance, and another tenant, a young male, paying $1,500, agreed to leave.

 

Quick as a wink, Lance’s marriage healed itself and the daughter had other plans that didn’t include an old building without a pool. In August, the Declaration was withdrawn. That meant that since the tenants voluntarily left, the units could be rented at market price.

 

Gifts to the tenants from the landlords continued, such as shutting down the community laundry room, forcing all the other tenants to go to Santa Monica to do laundry (no coin-operated business in the Palisades).

 

Sabin and Zuckerbraun decided to upgrade the two apartments – yet to be rented out – with washing machines and dryers – and new walls and a gas fireplace. There is most likely lead in the paint on the walls in this 1955 building, but . . .

 

In a December 29, 2023, Plan Check for Certificate of Occupancy on the Los Angeles Building site, there was request was to change out a window, and replace it with dual glazing. At the end of February, there was an application for LED can lights in the ceiling.

 

According to apartment rental sites, Unit 3, which is 1,100 sq. ft.  has been entirely redone, with white oakwood floors, remodeled bathroom, new kitchen and a washer/dryer, now renting for $3,995 per month. 

 

Unit 4, a second floor, 1,200 sq. ft. unit was upgraded with white oak hardwood floors and a gas fireplace. High end stainless-steel appliances included a built-in microwave, Bosch dishwasher, new farm style kitchen sink, and new custom cabinets were added. A built-in LG washer and dryer were installed, the bathroom remodeled, and custom puck lighting added throughout the apartment; rental cost is now $4,695, with a $3,000 deposit required.  

 

On the building permit (23016-2000-438250), applicant Miguel Vidaurre (for Sabin and Zuckerbruan), acknowledged the lead hazard warning that specifies all buildings pre-1978 require lead safe construction practices when doing renovations.  

 

Whoops, why bother with that pesky little California State Law that requires one to be a CDPH LRC-certified Lead Supervisor or Worker (Title 17, CCR, Section 36100(a)(1)). What about asbestos? What about it?

 

Those kinds of rules slows down construction, so renovation appears to have been done without abatement. On April 1, Sabin and Zuckerbraun were asked by CTN for the certification that lead was removed correctly, but there has been no reply.

 

What else have the jolly pair done? Sabin and Zuckerbraun know there is absolutely no crime in the Palisades, so they required all tenants to take down security cameras. A March 25 document states, “You have installed security cameras in violation of the rental agreement. You must remove said cameras within the 30-day time period stated herein.” 

 

One outside camera was in front of a garage, but Zukerbraun hit the camera in an attempt to knock it down.

Lance Zuckerbraun didn't like that there was a security camera by the garages, and tried to knock it off.

 

When one tenant came out to find out what they were doing, that tenant was told, “Just go to your room.” 

 

Tenants have documented verbal abuse from Sabin, who called the 81- and 84-year-old renters “mooches” because he feels their rent is too cheap. CTN would ask Sabin if that were true, but he hasn’t returned emails.

 

Then to rid the world of further evil, the duo went after a Koi Pond and a shed that was in the backyard of one apartment.  During Covid, a 110 sq ft. structure had been added, with the option to use an extension cord for electricity. The shed was used for a special needs child and a tutor. 

 

Because a permit had not been pulled, Sabin and Zuckerbraun went into full-fighting mode to rid the Pacific Palisades of unpermitted atrocities and reported the shed to LAHD.  

 

Perhaps the two spied the Koi and wanted a filet for dinner. They got the wiring pulled, including the electricity that powered the small pond. Too bad, fish. (A resident has had to add a battery to keep the pond circulating and the fish alive. Another battery is used to power lights when their child is being tutored or receiving music lessons.) 

 

In their haste to shut down tutoring, the two forgot to report the other two sheds they owned on the property, that they hoped to rent out. Whoops. Inspector shut those down, too.

 

On March 25, a long-time tenant and his girlfriend were served with a notice from the law firm of Dennis P. Block and Associates. “You have an unauthorized person occupying the premises in violation of the rental agreement. This person must be removed within the 30-day period. FEMALE, DARK/SHORT HAIR, APPROXIMATELY IN HER LATE 30S OR EARLY 40S.”

 

When a new owner buys a building, tenants fill out an Estoppel Certificate, which lists the rent and other conditions that were approved beyond the terms stated in the original lease. In this case the December 2022 Estoppel shows the couple, including the “female with dark/short hair,” moved in the building in 2012. Both names were approved by the previous landlord, thus listed as tenants; a deposit of $700 was paid for the dog. (CTN has seen the Estoppel. Sabin should have the Estoppels since he was the property seller and buyer.)

 

The Dennis P. Block law firm was called and asked if Sabin or Zuckerbraun had shown the firm the Estoppel Agreement before sending out the “Covernants or Quit” document. He responded in an April 1 via email, “No comment.”

 

Tenants have reached out to Howard Management about conditions, but in a July 20, 2023, email, the company president wrote, “So you are aware, we are simply following the orders of the owner. We do not dictate or implement policy.” 

Kevin Sabin and his guest were in the hallways of 16458 Sunset at 10 p.m. at night - possibly checking on his tenants.

 

One day, Sabin in a masterstroke to encourage tenants to find new accommodations shouted at one, “Why don’t you just leave already? Just leave! I know you can’t be happy living here with everything that is happening!”

 

But this is where the story takes a serious turn because these landlords may have lost their true calling—garage cleanout. Tenants were told that the garages had to be cleaned out so that vehicles could be parked inside.

 

 In the “Notice to Perform Conditions and Covenants or Quit” tenants were told, “You must cease parking in the driveway and park in the garage instead, as per your lease. This must be done within the 30-day time period stated herein.”

 

Maybe Sabin and Zuckerbraun could take that “Garage-Cleanout” program around the Palisades, with a snappy little saying, such as, “Clean your garage, or we’ll thrown you out.”

 

The building tenants have gone to the Los Angeles Housing Department, but that bureaucracy is limited in what it can do. Tenants have learned it can take weeks or months to conduct investigations.

 

They have tried to go to lawyers and have been told that landlords win 90 percent of the cases, because unlike tenants, landlords have money to keep fighting. These tenants live in affordable housing at 16458 Sunset, which means they don’t have the discretionary income to pay lawyers in cases that could go on several years. 

 

Need to be told to go to your room? Need a garage cleaned? Call Sabin and Zuckerbraun, they deliver. They might even stop by to tuck you into bed.

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8 Responses to Landlords Sabin and Zuckerbraun Push for Evictions

  1. Kris Griswold says:

    I am sick to my stomach at this. Wishing karma had a swifter arm.

  2. Betsy Handler says:

    Tenants should contact Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), Inner City Law Center, or Bet Tzedek for assistance.

  3. Michael Seider says:

    Hilarious (and important!) report!

  4. De says:

    The milk of human kindness has turned sour. I wonder how these landlords can sleep peacefully.

  5. Craig Tilson says:

    It’s interesting that Apartments.com lists the two remodeled vacant units as having one car garage with tandem parking, presumably in the driveway. Yet current tenants are not allowed to park in the driveway.

  6. Sylvia Boyd says:

    Good for you publishing such “goings on.” Even trying to be understanding of the owners investment etc. normal humanity seems to be a lost virtue.

  7. Marge says:

    The Palisades is overflowing with attorneys. Perhaps one of them could reach out to the remaining tenants and offer pro bono assistance.

  8. CC Fischer says:

    These are much less than men. They are lowlife bottom feeders and should be shunned by adults and made fun of by children.

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