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Editorials

40 tenants got eviction notices at Sacramento apartment complex. Here’s who is responsible

 

Holding landlords accountable is difficult when you can’t confirm their identity. Buildings are often owned by legal entities that obscure the owners’ names.

This was the case at Bell Oaks Apartments in Arden Arcade, where dozens of tenants received eviction notices a month ago. Tenants suspected who was putting them out, but weren’t sure. They fear becoming homeless.

Thanks to court documents, we now know the identities of the individuals responsible. Wayne Russell is overseeing the property’s sale to KHM Holdings LLC. The managing partner of KHM Holdings is Manroop Purewal.

A Sept. 24 agreement mandates evictions of all month-to-month leases in the complex by year’s end. That means roughly 40 leases in the 54-unit complex are being terminated.

Opinion

The purchase price, listed at $5.5 million in court documents, will drop by $30,000 for each of the 40 tenants not evicted. Up to six non-month-to-month tenants may stay without reducing the sale price.

The agreement makes the motivation clear: Beating California’s new rent stabilization law. The law caps rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation and puts new restrictions on evictions.

“Due to impending passage of the rent control bill (AB 1482) to be effective January 1, 2020, time to issue lease termination notices is of the essence,” states the settlement, which caps off a lawsuit KHM filed against the Bell Oaks owner Beahm Family Living Trust.

The lawsuit should raise concerns for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

The board is expected to vote Nov. 5 on whether to pass a moratorium on no-fault evictions. The ban would close a loophole that threatens housing security for renters throughout the county.

Attempt to stop sale

We don’t know who thought evicting 40 tenants was a good idea. What we do know from court documents is Russell’s mother, an original trustee of the Beahm trust, tried to stop the sale.

Greer Bheam, who is in her 70s, and her husband William Beahm, in his 90s, agreed a year ago to sell Bell Oaks to KHM for $5.5 million.

Court documents show that in early 2019 Greer tried to cancel the sale, KHM sued. Sacramento Superior Court dismissed the complaints pursuant to the settlement agreement.

Greer alleged in a Feb. 26 filing that Ben Frazier, an employee of real estate firm Kidder Mathews, intimidated her into signing a sale agreement. Frazier has not responded to requests for comment.

Greer alleged that when she told Frazier she wanted to talk to her accountant about tax implications, Frazier said he would “burn the building down if she used any different broker.”

From then on, Purewal worked directly with Greer on the sale, Greer’s Feb. 26 cross-complaint said.

The filing states Greer “was on several different medications and was referred to a neurologist due to her doctor’s suspicion of early dementia” when she signed the agreement.

She also “was concerned that since Frazier was representing Purewal that there would be retaliation of some sort against her and/or the Subject Property if she did not sign Purewal’s Agreement,” the document states.

KHM denied the allegations in court documents. Purewal’s attorney, Jason Hoffman, declined to comment.

Russell’s attorney, Shawn Ervin, said his client became trustee of his mother and her husband’s trust this summer after the court determined the couple did not have the capacity to enter into the agreement.

“As the situation played out it, ended up being I suppose, Mr. Russell” who raised the issue of their competence, Ervin said.

Ervin did not represent the Beahms. We requested comment from their listed attorneys but have not heard back.

Tenants becoming homeless ahead of the holidays as a landlord looks to skirt coming law should be enough to motivate county supervisors to enact a moratorium on no-fault evictions.

Greer’s allegations raise many alarms. But the openly stated motive for these evictions at Bell Oaks – to force tenants out before new protections kick in – should infuriate elected leaders up and down the state.

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