Concluding a long investigation, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced today he has sued Deutsche Bank for allowing hundreds of foreclosed
properties to fall into serious disrepair even as it worked to illegally
evict of hundreds of low-income tenants.
The bank’s liability could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The complaint alleges Deutsche Bank is “one of the largest slumlords in the City of Los Angeles,” citing 166 properties as
examples of Deutsche Bank’s illegal conduct under local, state and federal laws.
“The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief, including a
complete inventory, registration and inspection of foreclosed properties;
compliance with all applicable state and municipal code requirements; and a
stop to all illegal evictions,” the City Attorney’s office said.
The suit seeks restitution to current and
former tenants for amounts paid in excess of the actual value of their units
and unpaid relocation fees;”reimbursement to the City for costs of repair,
abatement, inspection and investigation; and penalties”
“We must fight blight by holding banks accountable when they
create vacant nuisance properties that pose threats to our residents and
destroy the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and we must protect
vulnerable tenants from illegal evictions,”
The bank and its subsidiaries acquired over 2,200 properties in the LA through
foreclosure in the last four years.
Deutsche Bank allowed the vacant properties to become nuisances. In
other instances, Deutsche Bank failed to provide minimum maintenance at
occupied buildings, condemning tenants to live in substandard and dangerous
conditions, the suit says.
Most of the properties are in low-income areas in South LA and
the Northeast San Fernando Valley.
“For several years, the Housing Department has received
numerous complaints of code violations from tenants of Deutsche Bank owned
properties and others who have filed complaints regarding violations of the Los
Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance,” Douglas Guthrie, General
Manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department said in a statement. “We are glad to be working with the City Attorney to address these
issues facing tenants in our communities.”