Mr. Stevenson lost me my rent controlled house in Santa Monica though I am almost 75 years old and had lived there for 11 years.
I hired Stevenson because he was recommended to me by the LA County Bar referral service. I had been harassed by my landlord and her daughter for 10 years and they refused to fix anything, even when ordered to by the city in arbitration. They had been in violation of health and city codes for 3 years without correction, which in Santa Monica is considered tenant harassment with fines attached. They illegally turned the garage into a rental TWICE while refusing to make repairs for their legal tenants and were cited and fined. They removed the hookups to my washer and dryer. They gave me multiple bogus 3 Day notices. They ordered me to get rid of my cat though I have a pet clause in my lease. They came into my house and private backyard without notice multiple times and gave me so many 24 hour notices, not in the proper time frame and not filled out as required, that I had a stack of them over an inch deep, while they never fixed anything. I had an 810 credit rating, plenty of money in my local bank, enough money in cash in the house to pay the rent and zero debt. I never missed a rent payment in my life. The postman did not pick up the mail for 4 or 5 days in a row, though that was the way I paid my rent every month. By the time I noticed, the rent was 3 days late and this was on a weekend. I immediately notified my landlord and her daughter by email that this was not intentional. I asked for her bank # so I could do a direct deposit to her account that day. My car was being repaired so I couldn't drive the rent to her and I have no smart phone for Uber. For two previous years they didn't cash my rent checks for 6 months and then cashed them all at once, so the rent being a few days late should not have burdened them. Instead they came the next day, Sunday, when I was home and posted a 3 day Notice on my door plus a demand for $153 in late fees, illegal per my lease. The rent envelope, clearly addressed, was still clipped to the mail slot adjacent to the door. The didn't take it, nor knock or ring the bell. They would not answer the phone. The phone numbers on the Notice and the late fee demand were different from each other and not phone numbers known to me. I called repeatedly. I emailed repeatedly. No response. 4 times over the previous 2 years the daughter had threatened me in emails trying to get me to move, saying her mother was going to move into my house (a lie), and used fighting words in person. In SM it is illegal for the landlord to even discuss this if they haven't filled out the forms with both rent control and the city attorney and put the relocation fee in trust. They never did this, and the last threatening email I'd received was just a few days before they posted my door. Then, though I handed the rent to the (new) mailman and he made sure it went out that night in plenty of time to satisfy, they claimed they never received it and sued me for eviction. I never received the envelope back in the mail. This was a slam dunk case of retaliatory eviction and a set up. I finally got their bank # from my co-tenant and deposited the rent. They put the money back in my account and closed their account. Mr. Stevenson had me deposit $1000 in his trust account and sign a contract. He told me we would completely discuss the case later and paralegals would go over the case with me if he was not available. NEVER happened. I sent him some of the emails I'd received from the landlord but none of the other supporting documents. He never met with me. He said he was out of town. When I sent him an email saying I was very nervous that he was unprepared and asked if he needed the other proof of retaliation and harassment he said no, that the judge wouldn't look at it. He was 1/2 an hour late to court and unprepared. He did not meet with me during lunch,never protested or cited SM law, mounted NO defense. I had been sick and was confused. I was not allowed to speak for myself. The State Bar Court has advised me to file against him.
Response from MavEryck Stevenson January 25, 2021
We're sorry you had a bad experience with our firm. This matter does not sound familiar, and we strive for the utmost client satisfaction in every case. Please contact me directly to discuss your specific concerns.