Plaintiffs of a class action lawsuit are trying to track down students who lived in the Moon residential complex from 2004 to 2007, because they might be entitled to settlement money.
BASTA Inc. filed a lawsuit against Nupac Apartments in 2007, maintaining Nupac landlords at the Moon illegally subdivided apartments. Earlier this year, Nupac agreed to pay $550,000 in settlement money, which will be split among the tenants of the Moon. Former tenants have until May 15 to file a claim to receive their part of the settlement.
“Nupac recognized that the apartment at the Moon had been illegally subdivided,” said Daniel J. Bramzon, president of BASTA Inc. and the representative of the tenants in the case. “Rather than face further regulatory repercussions, and significant financial exposure for their wrongdoings, Nupac chose to settle.”
Tyson Mansfield, who lived at the Moon when the lawsuit was filed, said he thinks the Nupac settlement is a huge victory for all USC students who have had to deal with difficult landlords.
“Everyone knows that all the landlords break the laws every day,” Mansfield, who graduated from USC in 2007, said. “You just have to know your rights.”
Mansfield said he and the other tenants decided to contact lawyers about Nupac Apartments after another resident tried to get a security deposit back.
“Then the landlord was like ‘No,’” Mansfield said. “And we thought, ‘We should call a lawyer and get everyone involved.’”
Along with security deposit and subdivision issues, Mansfield said tenants felt landlords at the Moon complex failed to keep the building up to earthquake codes and didn’t address electricity problems.
A manager at Nupac Apartments, who declined to state his name, said the lawsuit was unfounded and he did not believe the landlords illegally subdivided the apartments.
“I think we should have gone to trial because there was no merit on the case,” he said. “They should have not received a single penny.”
Mansfield said individual residents can expect to receive up to $8,000 from the settlement. Previous tenants with questions should contact BASTA Inc. or the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Tenants who lived at the Moon between June 15, 2004, and June 15, 2007, are eligible to file for a rent rebate from the settlement. They can receive up to a 30 percent rebate on the rent paid while living at the Moon.