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Indybay Feature
Fri Sep 11 2009 (Updated 09/12/09)
Giant Landlord Abruptly Exits Leaving East Palo Alto Tenants in Danger
Page Mill Properties Pockets Rents Instead of Making Loan Payment
East Palo Alto's biggest landlord missed a $50 million balloon payment to their bank last month, creating a situation that is both perplexing and dangerous for tenants. Page Mill Properties abruptly closed both their tony downtown Palo Alto office and their East Palo Alto offices last week, but they abandoned the tenants long before that. Tenant complaints include swimming pools covered in algae, long broken laundry facilities, and threatening "quit or pay" notices sent to tenants who were, in actuality, paid up on their rent. Tenant activists have also been harassed by Page Mill employees.

The Menlo Park Fire Department told the Palo Alto Daily News this week that of nine buildings recently inspected, only ONE of the current alarm systems is "even remotely" working. "We gave them a citation, a notice to repair, back in the June/July time frame. They have not done that," said the Fire Chief. Tenants are hoping that recent court action will bring some semblance of order to the neglected properties. On September 9, the San Mateo County Superior Court appointed Southern California based Ward Realty Advisors as receiver for the 1800 units. That company is now slated to select a property manager to take over running the buildings early next week.

On September 1 the court granted plaintiff Eric Oberle's motion for a preliminary injunction in a class action lawsuit against the giant landlord. That injunction barred Page Mill from collecting or enforcing rent increases that do not comply with East Palo Alto rent stabilization rules. Some tenants feel that this ruling may have been the final straw for the landlord whom they say not only failed to pay the bank but pocketed August and September rents as they left the properties abandoned.

Read more | EPA-tenants.org

Previous Indybay coverage: Mega-Landlord Pulls Out Suddenly, Leaving Tenants in Fire Trap | Possible Criminal Charges Against Landlord Page Mill Properties
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