Long Beach city officials have issued a record fine to a property owner for illegal rentals.
The city fined Long Beach landlord Ian Franklyn $10,000 for a pair of illegal basement apartments at 120 E. Hudson St., in the city's North Park neighborhood, where building inspectors found hazardous conditions and a malnourished pit-bull puppy.
Franklyn faced up to $26,000 in fines stemming from his first violations in May 2013, according to the city's building department. The city agreed to the $10,000 plea agreement Aug. 13 after a final inspection of the property and agreement to re-enter and inspect the home for the next year, Building Commissioner Scott Kemins said.
"These types of cases are typically an absentee landlord using the property as a cash cow," Kemins said. "The landlord is only paying taxes on a two-family home and the city and other taxpayers have to pick up the additional costs of sanitation and other expenses."
Franklyn and his Long Beach-based attorney, former City Councilman Denis Kelly, agreed to the settlement rather than the maximum fine for every day the violations existed since May 2013. He doesn't live at the house and the two legal apartments are being rented, Kemins said.
"My client learned a very expensive lesson," Kelly said. "When the city of Long Beach says there are illegal tenants, and you need to comply, it doesn't mean for the time being, but for the duration of property."
Long Beach building inspectors have been monitoring the property since 1999 when a prior owner was cited for illegally having four families living at the house, Kemins said. Additional violations were found in 2005 and 2008.
Franklyn's first violations in May 2013 came when the city again found four families illegally living at the two-story house, officials said. The city first reached a plea agreement with Franklyn following an inspection in August 2013, but another inspection by the city in December found the two illegal tenants had moved back into the house, Kemins said.
The city filed an animal abuse charge in January when inspectors found an emaciated pit-bull puppy in a vacant room at the house.
"It was discovered that the landlord had simply attempted to ruse the building department into believing that he was in compliance, so he could allow the tenants to move back in once the case was closed," Kemins said.