The owners of a vacation home in La Jolla, which was supposed to be hosting large, noisy parties amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reached an agreement with the city of San Diego, which took steps last year to close the rental property.
The final legal agreement, drawn up by the City of San Diego Law Firm, provides for homeowners Mousa Hussain Mushkor and Zahra Ali Kasim to be prevented from maintaining, causing or allowing any public nuisance or allowing large gatherings against the Public Health Regulations Violate COVID-19. Owners are also required to pay fines greater than $ 30,000 and to address multiple building code violations on the property.
When District Attorney Mara Elliott filed the original civil lawsuit last year, her office requested fines of at least $ 1 million.
The owners have not admitted any of the allegations in the original complaint.
“Irresponsible landlords who benefit the public health, especially during a pandemic, must be held accountable,” Elliott said in a statement. “Strong laws with clear consequences are the best deterrent. So I’m looking forward to the city’s first short-term rental regulations coming into effect next year.”
The settlement, signed by a San Diego County Supreme Court judge, culminates in months of talks following a civil lawsuit filed by Elliott against the owners of the six bedroom ocean view mansion on Black Gold Road in La Jolla Farms. The house was removed from the Airbnb platform last year and it is forbidden to host overnight stays of less than 30 days.
Prosecutors called for this condition because they were particularly concerned with police reports of parties at the apartment, which sometimes attracted more than 100 people late at night and early in the morning, and which occasionally included cases of underage alcohol use and violence. The result was many noise complaints from neighbors who spent considerable time in the police department over several years, said city attorney spokeswoman Hilary Nemchik. Many of the complaints came at a time when public health orders were ruling out large gatherings due to COVID-19.
“To ensure that the dangerous behavior is stopped immediately, we have resigned ourselves to the owners who have agreed to the regulations, including renting the property for a period of more than 30 days,” said Nemchik.
The condition could soon be controversial as Mushkor and Kasim put the 1-acre property up for sale for $ 9,999,999. Amber Anderson, one of the listing agents at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, said the various building code violations identified in the agreement had already been addressed as requested by the city.
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The original complaint from Elliott’s office named the owners along with their property managers Nital Meshkoor and Steven Barbarich, who rented the house and listed it as a short-term rental on Airbnb.
“My clients were not kept informed of these police calls,” said lawyer William Pettersen, who represented the owners. “You are not the culprit. If they had thrown Mr. Barbarich to his ear, they would have done it, but he used the COVID protection [for renters]. It was a commercial rental for him.
“My customers are in their 90s and in very poor health. They don’t want such trouble anymore, so put it up for sale. “
Attorney Joseph Miskabi, who represents Barbarich, said his client had not yet come to terms with the prosecutor. He said there had been some discussion and it was possible that an agreement could be reached.
Airbnb said in a statement that “we support local officials in their efforts to address this issue and have strict rules that prohibit parties and” party houses “that cause repeated harassment.”
Mayor Todd Gloria has signed new regulations for the operation of vacation rentals, but they won’t come into effect until July 2022. The new regulation not only limits how many apartment rentals can be operated in the city, but also introduces a system for licensing and enforcing public harassment laws. ◆