California Inter-Agency Fight Catches Tenants in the Middle

Ok class, if an equilateral triangle has three equal sides and three equal angles and an isosceles triangle has two equal sides and two equal angles, what do you call it when two state agencies are battling over evicting tenants along a stretch of highway in Pasadena, and more specifically, the money from the sale of those properties?  We’d call it a big ‘ol triangular mess.

And exactly what’s happened according to attorney Christopher Sutton who says the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) (you’ve seen their orange barrels), is trying to “game the system” and cut another agency, the California Housing Finance Agency (Cal FHA) out of their share of the revenues.

He says, “They are stealing money from the California Housing Finance Agency,” Sutton said, “and they are stealing purchase opportunities from these tenants,”  “By evicting low-income tenants,” said Sutton, “Caltrans gets to sell the properties as empty, at market value, and does not have to share the proceeds with Cal FHA. So, it’s an inter-agency fight, in which the Caltrans tenants are pawns.”

But just like any good triangle, there are at least two sides to every story and according to Lauren Wonder, Caltrans District 7 Chief, Media Relations & Public Affairs, Sutton is both correct and incorrect in describing Caltrans’ position regarding the eviction of renters. As Wonder explained, “The attorney is correct when he states that ‘It’s not in the state of California’s interest to evict these tenants.’ SB 416 removed the surface route as an alternative for the SR-710 proposed project. This cleared the way for Caltrans to take the other necessary steps to move forward with selling the properties,” she continued. “SB580, passed in late 2016, adds historic properties into the priority of who has first rights to purchase properties and under what terms.”

And caught (triangularly) in the middle of this mess are the tenants. What a dispute indeed! And, guess what? — they happen every day when parties don’t see eye to eye…or apex to apex.  When they happen to YOUR business (especially landlord/tenant matters, contract disputes or even collections), make sure you have geometric whiz and monster litigator Dean Sperling squarely in your corner to resolve your matter with YOUR best interests in mind.

More on this case:
Caltrans: ‘Not in Our Interest to Evict Tenants’