Google Maps Screenshot of 3810 Ocean Boulevard.
Residents who once lived in an apartment complex in Belmont Shore are filing suit against their former landlords, three weeks after other tenants a few blocks away were served notices to vacate and began a protest of their landlord’s practices.
According to court documents, the tenants in Long Beach, who lived near the Belmont Shore location of Chronic Tacos, have filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against J-Mar Investments, Walter Watson and Entourage Property Management.
“The tenants allege that mold was discovered in the apartments located at 3810 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA in November 2015,” a release from the Curd, Galindo and Smith, LLP stated. “The tenants reported leaks in the ceilings, mold in the cabinets and walls; however, the owners, J Mar Investment and Entourage Property Management, allegedly failed to take any corrective action.”
The tenants are seeking “unspecified damages for medical bills, loss of earnings, emotional distress, pain, suffering and humiliation,” according to the release.
“We don’t believe it’s appropriate to comment publicly on civil issues with residents,” said Larry Guesno, a supervisor at Entourage Property Management. “However, we’ve always held the health and safety of our residents in the highest regard. We look forward to the full facts being presented as we move forward in the judicial process.”
The lawsuit alleges the tenants experienced headaches, dizziness, chest pain, muscle loss and memory loss as a result of mold present in the complex, and that two mold studies conducted by the Plaintiffs confirmed abnormal levels of harmful mold spores within the apartment complex.
The tenants allege the defendants failed to comply with the Health & Safety Code by failing to provide a habitable dwelling failing to provide relocation assistance.
In the separate, ongoing situation occurring at 54th Place and Ocean Boulevard, residents have expressed frustration at not being provided the results of requested mold inspection and instead being served three-day notices to move, despite paying their rent on time.
Guesno cited concerns for the tenants' health and said they have avoided enforcement of the notice, which was served so that the owners could eradicate the mold in the units at risk. Guesno said all but one unit had abnormal levels of harmful mold spores and notices were served to all other units in the building, though not everyone has vacated the complex.
“We could give them 90 days, but we thought that would be unsafe,” said Guesno. He said they returned rent to the tenants, as well as their security deposit, as a means of providing any necessary relocation assistance.
He said the company is unsure how long it would take to eradicate the mold in the facility and did not want to make any promises they couldn’t keep, and thus provided no assurance to residents of their relocation being temporary in nature. He was, however, quick to say the notice to move was not an eviction, because the residents did not do anything wrong, and little to no enforcement has occurred.
Housing Long Beach’s Josh Butler said only the tenants who had requested mold testing received notices to vacate the premises, rendering some essentially homeless, looking forward to a time when they can move back into the apartment they had considered home.