Posted on September 23, 2011 at 8:55 AM
Friday, Sep 23 at 11:06 AM
SPOKANE-- Last week tenants living in the Shogun Plaza were given zero notice when they were told to evacuate immediately.
The fire department left multiple notices about code violations for the landlord, but management claims to have no prior knowledge of these citations.
Under the revised code of Washington, better known as the RCW, if a landlord knowingly violates the code or has property condemned, the landlord could have to pay tenants relocation expenses, and that can be pricey.
Attorney Eric Steven, an expert in the field, says that in some cases, tenants could be entitled to money.
“A number of remedies are available to the tenant including treble damages, and three times the amount of rent paid during their occupancy, as well as return of pre-paid rent and return of deposits.
State law says:
“"The purpose of this act is to establish a process by which displaced tenants would receive funds for relocation from landlords who fail to provide safe and sanitary housing after due notice of building code or health code violations."
Steven says that depending on the facts of the case, it could take tenants months to see any monetary reward. Even filing a claim for a civil suit could take weeks, but resources are available.
“If it’s just a straight landlord-tenant violation, there are a number of advocacy groups even in Spokane that may be able to address these types of injuries,” Steven said.
Several tenants told KREM 2 that they want to seek some kind of legal remedy to the problem, but so far, no one will take the case.
The building’s owner, Jong Lee, who also owns the Shogun restaurant, has not returned numerous calls on this story.