Los Angeles apartment owner battles fraudulent tenant in latest rental story nightmare

Remember the Airbnb host who refused to leave the guest house she stopped paying for, causing the homeowner a lot of stress and money?

Here's another tenant-from-hell story, also based in Los Angeles:

In late 2021, a Santa Monica apartment owner went to her 3-bedroom apartment to inspect it after the tenants had moved out. She discovered an unauthorized occupant. According to Sinai Law Firm, which posted this story on Xitter, it was "a middle-aged woman who says, 'I'm living here, this is my house.' She won't leave, and the police are called, but they can't do anything. 'It's a civil matter – you have to evict her.' So, this is where I come in. It turns out one of the former tenants subleased one of the rooms for extra cash and did not notify my client. The occupant was so obnoxious and rude that all the rest of the tenants fled elsewhere shortly after she moved in. They found her on Craigslist."

The law firm looked into the unauthorized tenant's background, which revealed a history of similar eviction disputes, deception, and fraud.

The apartment owner's attorney had to wait until the Covid moratorium was over in March 2023 before she could take any action. The situation spiraled into a complex and expensive legal battle. The tenant, backed by a local non-profit, aggressively fought the eviction with a barrage of legal motions, discovery requests, and delay tactics.

The case went to a jury trial. The jury unanimously ruled in favor of the owner, granting her possession and damages. But the unauthorized tenant was far from giving up. She filed multiple motions to reverse the judgment, prolonging the eviction process, and necessitating the sheriff's intervention for a lockout. She then attempted to break back into the apartment, hiring a locksmith to help her get in.