Tenants of the plagued luxury highrise building, 33 Tehama, have filed a second lawsuit against building owner Hines.
Texas-based Hines are already being sued by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy for alleged damages, moving and hotel expenses on behalf of tenants, after the building was evacuated twice due to flooding in June and August.
A fresh lawsuit filed by Bracamontes & Vlasak for 44 tenants, alleges Hines “should have known” water standpipes in the building needed to be inspected and maintained prior to the flooding.
It also alleges that Hines created a nuisance, was negligent, and violated tenants’ rights and safety.
Hines denies the allegations in the new complaint.
“All of these tenants were displaced but some got back on their feet relatively quickly, while others are still having problems,” Ryan Vlasak said.
Vlasak said this lawsuit is different to the October-filed suit because it alleges “unfair business practices” by Hines, including allegations that the firm required displaced tenants to pay partial rent to be able to access relocation services provided by Hines.
“Hines wasn’t even allowed to charge rent,” Vlasak said. “If an apartment is made uninhabitable for more than 35 days, the landlord can’t demand rent at all.”
The date that tenants will be able to move back into 33 Tehama is still uncertain, although Hines previously told The Standard it could be as late as June next year.
There has also been some controversy around the repairs being made to the building, where one contractor was caught on camera stealing from a tenant’s room.
A Hines spokesperson told The Standard their staff has worked around-the-clock to assist displaced residents with emergency and temporary relocation options.
“We deny the allegations pled in this complaint, and we believe that during the course of pretrial discovery the court and the public will understand the true extent of our efforts to help those that had to leave their homes during these unfortunate and unforeseen events,” the spokesperson said.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at [email protected]