Owner of 8752 Rangely Sues Over $44,250 Fine for Illegal Short-Term Rental

The backyard of 8752 Rangely Ave.

The owner of a house at 8752 Rangely Ave. in West Hollywood is suing the City of West Hollywood over a $44,250 fine levied against her for illegally renting that house to visitors.

The lawsuit was filed in February at Los Angeles Superior Court by Janice Krok, who owns the house. In the lawsuit, Krok’s lawyer, Thomas Nitti, claims the fine is “excessive pursuant to the California Constitution and is a violation of due process.” Nitti’s claim of the violation of due process stems from a city requirement that Krok pay the entire fine in order to appeal the citation by West Hollywood’s Code Compliance Division. The city can levy a penalty of up to 200% of the fine if Krok doesn’t pay by the deadline.

8752 Rangely Ave.

The lawsuit also claims that the house, which was built in 1924, 60 years before the incorporation of the City of West Hollywood, has been used for short-term rentals since it was built and thus should be exempt from city laws regulating short-term rentals. The exterior of the house suggests it has been substantially renovated since 1924. A listing on Realtor.com describes it as a two-bedroom, two-bath house with a swimming pool and a two-story guest house in its rear yard.

In a conversation with WEHOville, Dan Mick, the city’s Code Compliance supervisor, said Krok had been cited for an illegal rental in 2015 and twice in 2016. The citation on Jan. 25 of this year came after the city’s adoption of a new penalty schedule in 2016. In the past, violators were fined $250 for the first offense, $450 for the second and $850 for the third. Additional violations were designated as misdemeanors.

In 2016, the City Council approved a new formula intended to make the fine relative to the money an apartment or homeowner was making from an illegal rental. Under that formula, the city levies a fine equal to 400% of the rent advertised for the illegal rental, multiplied by the number of nights the unit is offered. Krok had advertised her house for rent for $850 a night for a minimum of 13 nights, Mick said, which would equal $44,200. An additional $50 was added as an administrative fee. Under the new policy, Mick said, “The violators themselves are setting their own fines.”

The City of West Hollywood has contested Krok’s claim and asked that it be dismissed. A conference is scheduled for May 24 at L.A. Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles to discuss a trial.

West Hollywood has struggled in recent years with a large increase in short-term rentals, mostly of apartments, that some City Council members worry are removing affordable housing and contributing to soaring rents in West Hollywood and throughout California. Last year the Council approved an ordinance that would permit rentals of fewer than 31 days only in houses occupied by their owners or in condos whose homeowners association has approved such rentals. Short-term rentals of apartments are banned.


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Blake
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Blake

Bravo to West Hollywood for rogue landlords just want to be GREEDY and get a winfall all the while get fixed mortgage rates because of how long they owned their properties. This is modern day piracy and tax evasion! They are literally taking advantage of a city’s lax rules prior to 2015. I was there noticing people who just stayed on occasion but mostly lived or stayed off the property by becoming their own boutique hotels! Does that even make them legal residents of West Hollywood still? Even AKA say they “didn’t know the law” in West Hollywood. These are… Read more »

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

How has she distorted the vacancy rate and contributed to soaring rents?

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

She was cited in 2015 and 2016 but only when she was cited under the new law at an amout of $44,250 did she fight it…..sounds like the City’s doing something right! The claim her house was built before Cityhood, so was my building and my landlord doesn’t claim the RSO shouldn’t apply to him. That’s just ridiculous! While the fine of $44,250 sounds high, she was advertising the house at $850/night. This is a potential $3000,000 annual income from the illegal use of this property (while removing 1, potentially 2 if you include the guest house, homes from our… Read more »

constituent
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constituent

Shame on this morally bankrupt city council that sexuality harasses its employees? have you ever heard of such a vindictive fine in your life?

i hope the courts put a stop to this tyranny. this is most definitely not a government working for the best interests of its constituents i.e. taxpayers, but for its own interests.

WehoFan
Guest
WehoFan

Government overreach. It’s her house. She pays taxes for it. She should be able to use it as she pleases.

Tony Messineo
Guest
Tony Messineo

Give me a break. The city is not interested in whether or not apartment units and houses are being taken off the rental market; they’re only interested in the easiest way to increase their coffers with the least resistance. This punishment does not fit the “crime”. If this city was truly interested in reducing rental costs and making more units available on the rental market – guess what – support for Sanctuary City ideas is doing nothing to help!

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

No one is above the law.

Well, they actually are, but let’s discourage it.

Are they the couple that recently sued WeHo for other fines?

It's a Kroc
Guest
It's a Kroc

Questions:

1. Did Kroc pay the fines in 2015 and 2016?

2. Any Code Enforcement complaints from other neighbors regarding Kroc’s renters?

3. Kroc’s attorney Frank Nitti, excuse me Thomas Nitti’s argument about built in 1924 but substantially altered is an argument? Where is the grandfather clause about any of this?

4. Advertised as a minimum of 13 nights? Who advertises their wrongdoing?

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

Whom is she hurting? No one is losing anything.

Leave her alone.

Alison
Guest
Alison

The law is the law. No one is above it. Go after her.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

Apparently it’s the law only in WeHo. Change the law.

Jim Nasium
Guest
Jim Nasium

The nerve…..and more nerve. She doesn’t stand a chance. Good job Weho!