White landlord sues Black tenant who
complained of racism and denial of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. LOS ANGELES –
A landlord is counter- suing a rent control tenant for $10,000 after the tenant repeatedly asked for intercom repairs and extra parking. The landlord claims the tenant complaints caused him lost rents. The tenant is Black, the landlord is white.
After years of tenant complaints, the owner still refuses to make repairs and provide extra parking to the tenant. But while the landlord is also claiming the tenant “harassed” him, no reason is given why the owner and management felt harassed in 2014 and did not complain about it until 2020.
“…The offices of the state attorney
general, county district attorney, and
city attorney have been asked to join
in the lawsuit…”
The Superior court case is Johnson vs Power Property Group, 19STSC14394, filed December 16, 2019. The landlord is Walter Barratt of Hi Point Apts LLC. The offices of the state attorney general, county district attorney, and city attorney have been asked to join in the lawsuit.
The property at 1522 Hi Point St 90035 was the subject of media attention in a full page ad in Random Lengths news (online out of San Pedro), p. 17, February 22, 2018, “Why racism thrives in America: unfair housing”.
(Counter-defendants are Brett Parsons (Ph. 310-593-3955), Cynthia Reynosa ( (Ph. 310-593-3955), Kassandra Harris (213-908-8008), Walter Barratt/Hi Point Apts LLC (310-895-6693), and Power Property Group (management company) (Ph. 310-593-3955).
Frequently asked questions
Updated Feb 19, 2021
What is the core lawsuit about?
The plaintiff is suing for lack of intercom repair, negligence, denial of tandem parking, bad faith, nominal and general damages, specific performance. The complaint alleges about $8,000 in damages and stems back three years.
What is an intercom?
Many older box apartment buildings or condominiums require front door to unit intercom (“call box”) systems to alert tenants in safe manner. Newer buildings may require the intercom system to be connected to a fire alarm system. Hundreds or thousands of builings in Los Angeles have intercom systems. The lawsuit alleges that the intercom system of two Black tenants needs repair (since 2014).
What is tandem parking?
Tandem parking is where two cars park behind each other. The building in question has about 13 single parking stalls and 7 tandem stalls. There are eighteen one bedroom units. The lawsuit alleges that since 2016, the owner has at least 2 extra parking stalls but refuses to assign Black tenants an extra or tandem parking stall. The city has valued parking stalls in high density areas at $200 per stall per month.
Who are the defendants?
Walter Barratt, property owner; Hi Point Apts LLC; Power Property Management Group, management company, Brett Parsons, employee of Power Property; Cynthia Reynosa, Power Property employee who cashes the checks, and resident property manager Kassandra Harris.
Why are the defendants cross suing the
The defendants claim “retaliation, harassment, prior small claims case 14S03695 litigated 2014; Defamation, Frivolous lawsuit claims with the City; other frivolous lawsuits; vexatious litigant”. The defendants are claiming loss of rental income.
(Note: Hi Point Apts made similar allegations in a 2016 court case and the court denied their claims. Most of the defendants were not the same. It is highly suspected by many that the cross complaint is retaliation because the Black tenant claimed racial discrimination. The plaintiff has made previous complaints to code enforcement and rent control. The statute of limitation on personal injury is three years.)
On February 19, 2021, the court case was continued at defendant’s request due to lack of available Judge. (The defendants would not consent to the case being heard by a commissioner or temporary Judge).
Beware of renting from
Walter Barratt or
Power Property Group
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(Editor note: In these major disaster COVID times, what could be more important than the health and safety of a working intercom and for those who are confined to their residence? Parking is also critical as many who are not working have to find a parking spot for their car on the street amid safety concerns and having to avoid street sweeping tickets. Parking is a valuable housing service but so is an intercom system. Hundreds of buildings across the city have intercoms. Did you know that lack of window screens is a code violation or even a hole in a screen? If you live in a multi-family dwelling, are there securely fitting screens on all windows? (Not legal advice.) One of the most important phrases IMO in any housing law and lease/rental agreement is “including but not limited to”. This is also included in rent control laws defining housing services. This means that a landlord cannot arbitrarily exclude items needing repair because they feel the maintenance is not necessary for that item. Also see state health and safety code (CA) section 17920.3(a) “Inadequate sanitation shall include, but not be limited to… and (a)(14) “general dilapidation or improper maintenance” and (c) “any nuisance”. Further, if you suffer as tenant a one time injury from the landlord and then you move out, you are probably not suffering from continuing damages. But if you remain a tenant, and the injury does not continue but the damages continue (i.e you continue to pay rent or you incurred costs mailing the landlord a certified letter), then you may be entitled to sue the landlord repeatedly if the damages are continuing; there is law to support this in that one law entitles the tenant to maximum two months rent per year for housing repairs not done. That is just one law. Not legal advice. )