BASTA Eviction Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles – Who Are They?
For a better idea of who BASTA is and what they do, we’ll give you a pretty common example. Let’s say you have a tenant who has failed to pay their rent. The first step would be to serve your tenant a 3 day notice to pay or quit. So, let’s say you’ve done that and the notice has run its course and expired. You contact your trusted attorney and he or she then files the unlawful detainer in your corresponding court house. But then, out of the blue, you get a notification that a tenant defense group called “BASTA” will be representing your tenant and they have filed an answer to the complaint. In the answer, they have said your eviction attempt is retaliatory, or claim the tenant lives in uninhabitable conditions. What?!
In this next read, we’ll try to explain who BASTA really is, how they get involved and what to do if you run into this situation in the future.
Who Is BASTA
BASTA’s main “priority” is to prevent homelessness; so they say. They’re a supposed law firm that make you try to believe they are in it for the best interest of tenants to try and halt unlawful detainer cases. We’d like to ask you, why were BASTA’s offices the epicenter of protests organized by LA’s Tenant’s Union? Or how about facebook posts that claim their founder Daniel Bramzon also represents landlords? The tenant union simply wants him to “stop pretending he is a dedicated tenant rights advocate.”
The truth is simple. BASTA shakes down landlords by demanding sums of cash in the ballparks of $5,000 to “settle” and avoid expensive eviction court delays and jury trials. Other demands include the forgiveness of owed rent and sealed eviction records.
A story published by LA Weekly in December 2014 paints BASTA as the “Robin Hood” and protector of poor tenants. It isn’t hard to discover that BASTA makes a killing by demanding cash for keys and receiving 30% of anything they are able to force out of landlord pockets.
BASTA and Jury Trials
I get asked on so many occasions; why do the courts allow jury trials for an unlawful detainer? The truth is everyone has the constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Landlords have no choice. BASTA, however, takes this right to a whole other level by requesting a trial by default and use it as a scare tactic to shake down landlords. It’s obvious when a tenant has asked BASTA for their services if every single box on the answer form has been checked!
How BASTA taints the Discovery Process
After they have successfully delayed your case and you decide to go the trial route, instead of their almost mafia like shake down comes the discovery process or phase of the trial. BASTA will advise their client (your tenant) to call and complain with as many governmental authorities as they can such as Housing Inspectors and claim to have habitability issues. If you DO happen to be cited, they will advise your tenant to refuse access to your rental to try and fix any issues authorities may have found, so watch out for this!
Next, watch out for discovery request letters that BASTA will send you to annoy you and try and further delay your case. They will be nice enough to offer a “settlement” option instead of answering their requests for sums of anywhere between 3,500 to 5,000, rent waivers and to grant the tenant an additional 90 days to vacate.
What can you do as a landlord?
The best way to beat them is to take a stand, fight back and prepare yourself! Answer any and all discovery requests. Most importantly, do not settle and pay their crazy extortion fees. Your best defense is your rental agreement, ledger and maintenance request copies and invoices.
- BASTA is focused on taking your cash money! You can limit this by limiting attorney fees to $500 in your rental agreement clause. Do not have an unlimited fees clause or skip out on having one!
- Take care of all maintenance requests; make your monthly rounds of inspections and make sure NONE of your tenants have an upper hand on you with habitability issues.
- If you pay their extortion fees, you are likely to get hit again by them. They know who to take advantage of. If you put up a fight and are well prepared, they will also remember this and most likely not take the tenant’s case.
- If you happen to lose your case against BASTA and they obtain a judgment against you, make sure you pay them off immediately as this can cause further problems for you.
- Lastly, do not try and navigate a BASTA backed eviction on your own. Hire a trusted landlord attorney immediately!
At Fast Eviction Service, help on any of the issues discussed in this article is simply a click or phone call away. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (800) 686-8686 to discuss your questions for a free evaluation of your case.
Basta: The Truth About Founder Daniel Bramzon
Daniel Bramzon, the founder of BASTA was accused of having ties and a business relationship with a notorious landlord, Jeff Byrd, by the Los Angeles Tenants Union in a Los Angeles Weekly Article written by Hillel Aron on June 23, 2017. In that article Mr. Bramzon was accused of a blatant conflict of interest and a march on BASTA’S Los Angeles Office was organized by Tenant’s Activist Trinidad Ruiz. Read More...
Jury Trials: Trends In California Unlawful Detainer Litigation
The California Constitution allows any litigant in a civil lawsuit to demand a jury trial. This includes Unlawful Detainer actions. Most eviction defense firms like BASTA, the Eviction Defense Network, Public Counsel and others routinely file a demand for a jury trial which is combined with the tenant filing a fee waiver, at the same time an answer to the eviction case is filed. Read More...
Discovery In Unlawful Detainer Cases
Once an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit is filed and the tenant decides to contest the eviction the process called “discovery” is a very important tool that can assist the landlord’s attorney in preparing for trial. It’s a critical weapon in an attorney’s arsenal to ferret out the factual and documentary basis for the tenant’s claims that the landlord should not be allowed to evict the contesting tenant. This is especially important in preparing for a jury trial against BASTA or any of the other tenant defense attorneys. Read More...
Filed under: Landlord Legal Issues