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Housing

$4 million settlement reached in uninhabitable Paso Robles Grand View Apartments case

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A lawsuit was settled alleging the Paso Robles Grand View Apartments were uninhabitable and vermin-infested.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the owners and managers of the Paso Robles Grand View Apartments in 2019, alleging they knowingly allowed their tenants to live in uninhabitable, vermin-infested conditions for years.

It was just settled for more than $4 million — and now that money will be distributed to former tenants.

Stephanie Barclay is the Legal Director at San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation (SLOLAF), a nonprofit that provides free legal services to low-income San Luis Obispo County residents, primarily in the area of housing and evictions.

Barclay filed the lawsuit alongside Allen Hutkin of the Hutkin Law Firm. She said she sees these kinds of situations all the time.

“This is definitely one of the worst ones that we’ve seen,” Barclay said. “But it was unique, not only in how bad it was, but also the tenants being willing to unite and being brave enough to speak up and willing to take some of the scary risks associated with that.”

Barclay said early on in the lawsuit process, she and Hutkin obtained a Temporary Restraining Order preventing Grand View Apartments from continuing to collect rent while the apartments remained uninhabitable.

Barclay said most of the 54 units in the apartment had recurring problems.

“Bed bugs, cockroaches, mold, sewage backups in the kitchen and the bathrooms, faulty electrical, nonfunctioning smoke detectors,” Barclay said. “The list goes on and on.”

Barclay said the property owners claimed making the necessary fixes would be too expensive. So Grand View Apartments was allowed by a judge to evict the tenants and sell the property instead.

SLOLAF then partnered with several housing authorities to find housing for the tenants who needed it.

Now that the case has settled, Barclay said SLOLAF and Hutkin Law Firm are working on distributing the money to the former tenants.

“Anyone who lived at Grand View from May 2015 until it went out of business in February 2020 can receive funds through our settlement,” Barclay said.

If you or someone you know was a tenant at Grand View Apartments, you can contact the Hutkin Law Firm at (805) 544-1500.

The attorneys plan to meet with former tenants at the Paso Robles City Downtown Park by the gazebo on Sunday September 26 at 2 p.m. to help fill out claim forms.

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