The complaint by City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich alleges US Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States, allowed hundreds of foreclosed properties to fall into disrepair and facilitated the illegal eviction of hundreds of low-income tenants.
If found liable, the bank faces tens of millions of dollars in damages, the city attorney's office said.
The office said during the past four years, US Bank acquired more than 1,500 properties in Los Angeles through foreclosure. In some instances, the properties were vacant at the time of foreclosure, and US Bank either failed to make the necessary repairs to remedy nuisance conditions, or caused or permitted nuisance conditions to develop, the office said.
Using real estate agents and attorneys, "US Bank engaged in numerous deceptive and dishonest tactics to evict tenants, including serving notices requiring unreasonable demands, demanding occupants leave in an extremely short time in exchange for small amounts of money, causing or allowing utilities to be shut off, charging excessive rent in excess of the amounts under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and threatening legal action," a statement from the city attorney's office alleged.