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Real Estate Agent Pleads No Contest to Violating Santa Monica's Homesharing Law
By Jorge Casuso
June 19, 2018 -- A real estate agent who ran an illegal vacation rental business in Santa Monica pleaded “no contest” to five misdemeanor counts after being prosecuted by the City Attorney's office.
Shabi Jafri -- who unlawfully removed some nine units from the city's rental housing market -- will perform 140 hours of community service and pay the City $3,600.25 in investigation costs.
The case was filed early this year after City code enforcement officers issued multiple administrative citations to Jafri, City officials said.
Jafri continued to operate the business without the necessary permits, violating Santa Monica's homesharing law, which requires that both the host and paying guest occupy the registered unit.
"Instead of coming into compliance," prosecutors said, "Jafri employed various tactics to deceive City investigators."
The enforcement officers confirmed the violations after they were able to "successfully penetrate the subterfuge," City officials said.
“This is a positive and fair result,” said Code Enforcement Manager Sharon Guidry.
The homesharing law, she said, “"clearly reiterated (the City Council's) deep interest in and concerns about protecting Santa Monica’s diverse permanent rental housing stock."
Last Wednesday, City prosecutors took the “no contest” plea, which placed Jafri on formal diversion with 24 months of probation.
“The City of Santa Monica has consistently dedicated policies to producing, protecting and preserving housing in our community,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen.
“This conviction is both a just outcome and further affirms these important legislative goals.”
Last week, a federal district court dismissed a lawsuit brought by Airbnb and Homeaway.com challenging the City's home-sharing law ("Federal Court Tosses Challenge to Santa Monica's Home-Sharing Law," June 18, 2018).
To report an illegal vacation rental business, contact Code Enforcement at (310) 458-4984.
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