The city of Compton has joined nearly two dozen cities in a lawsuit against a homebuilder accused of cheating cities out of millions in building fees.
Blackbird Special Project, LLC, owned by La Jolla entrepreneur Neil Senturia, filed the lawsuit against Dallas-based Invitation Homes in 2020. The civil complaint was unsealed by a San Diego judge late last year.
The complaint alleges the homebuilder obtained building permits for less than 7% of the homes they owned across Southern California. After performing work such as demolition and upgrades, the homes were rented out without disclosing the unpermitted work.
Invitation Homes began buying properties throughout the U.S. after the 2007-08 financial crisis, and now owns more than 12,000 dwellings in California, spending about $25,000 on renovations per home, according to the complaint. Avoiding the permit process also avoids safety inspections by city building inspectors, thus possibly putting families renting the homes at-risk.
The company also bought multiple homes in the city of Inglewood who is not enjoined to this lawsuit.
How was the company able to avoid detection when the average Compton resident can’t do roof repairs without code enforcement stopping them?