A landlord who allegedly neglected his North Hollywood apartment complex even as it fell under the control of a local street gang may soon be forced to live in it.
In a nuisance abate suit filed last month against Swaranjit “Mike” Nijjar, the owner of a 116-unit apartment complex in the 13100 and 13200 block of Vanowen Street, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer is asking that Nijjar be sentenced to live at his property until he makes it decent for the people who pay for the privilege, SanFernandoSun.com reports.
According to the suit, Nijjar’s “billion-dollar real estate empire” consists of more than 1,000 units in L.A. alone, but the Vanowen St. complex of 12 two-story buildings, courtyards, common areas and parking spots is surrounded by open gates and a fence that are unsecured and accessible to anyone. The property has become an alleged “stronghold” for the North Hollywood Locos gang, Feuer says, where the Los Angeles Police Department has documented nine gang-related shootings in just the last 15 months—including five since December, 2021.
Feuer wants Nijjar to stay in the complex “until certain maintenance requirements are met, including the installation of fencing, gating, and a video security system, and the deployment of security guards on the property,” according to SanFernandoSun.
“Let him learn what it’s like to live with shooting after shooting, because that’s what the hard-working families at this property endure all the time,” Feuer said at a February 24 press conference.
The suit—which also names Jijjar’s sister, Daljit Kler, as the property manager—alleges that gang members are so at home in the Vanowen St. complex that they’ve been tagging it “with graffiti to make it clear to tenants, community members and rivals that it is under their control and that they will aggressively defend it from other gangs, including rivals MS-13.”
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times last week, Feuer said, “The violence at and around this gang-ridden property has got to stop now. It’s so bad that the church next door had to suspend youth activities during this recent outbreak of shootings to keep young congregants out of harm’s way, then erect a metal barrier to deflect bullets.”
L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes the Vanowen St. complex, told the Times, “No tenant in this city should be forced to live in the kind of conditions that have existed at 13100 Vanowen,” but added that “despite our work to uplift this neighborhood, the owner of this property has continued to fail to keep the tenants safe.”
Jijjar did not return a request for comment from the Times.
Although film buffs no doubt remember this ironic scenario from 1991’s wonderful The Super starring Joe Pesci, we’re not sure if it’s within the authority of a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to impose the kind of sentence Feuer—who is running for Mayor—is looking for. And he did not return a call for comment from Los Angeles.
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