Lease discriminates, tenants claim in suit

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By MIKE MORRIS

A lawsuit filed against the management company of three local apartment complexes claims its lease discriminates against senior citizens and requires tenants to waive legal rights.

According to a press release, the suit, filed June 27 at the Federal District Court in San Francisco, alleges the lease used by CBM Group, an Auburn-based company, contains "false, misleading and illegal provisions."

All CBM properties in California use the same standard lease.

CBM is responsible for the management of thousands of federally subsidized apartments for low-income households throughout California and the western United States, including Sonora Garden Apartments, 100 Greenley Road in Sonora; Tuolumne City Senior Apartments, 18402 Tuolumne Road in Tuolumne; and Murphys Senior Apartments, 350 Bret Harte Drive, in Murphys.

"A lease is a contract, and the only time a lease is enforced is when there's termination of a residency," said Michael Burke, CBM's director of property management. "Our lease is very well-written. If there's anything false, that's up to a judge to determine."

Self-reliant

Carole Hazelton, property manager at Sonora Garden Apartments for the past seven years, said she hasn't received any complaints from tenants regarding their leases. Sonora Garden has 33 apartments, with an average of four people living in each.

Managers for Tuolumne City Senior Apartments have been out of the office for the past two days, and the manager of Murphys Senior Apartments was unavailable for comment this morning.

The lawsuit was brought about by four individual tenants of CBM, as well as Clearlake Housing Now, a nonprofit housing advocacy organization. The plaintiffs are asking for the lease to be revised.

Andrew Rossoff, directing attorney for Senior Law Project Inc., who helped the tenants file suit, claims there are mainly two objectionable portions of CBM's lease.

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The Union Democrat
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