• Report: #1042597

Complaint Review: Deena Esther Brand

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  • Submitted: Thu, April 11, 2013
  • Updated: Sun, May 26, 2013

  • Reported By: Victimized — Palm Springs California
Deena Esther Brand
509 N. Linden Dr. Internet United States of America

Deena Esther Brand Brand Realty, Inc. Deena Brand calls herself a Land*Lady*? Since when did *Lady* mean Unlawful, Greedy & VILE? Internet

*Author of original report: Did DEENA BRAND of Brand Realty, Inc. Hire non-Licensed Contractors?

*Author of original report: Deena Brand of Brand Realty, Inc -- Tenant's Property in ~ Ruin ~

*Consumer Comment: Renters Beware

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One of the most disastrous things you could do in your entire life would be to rent an apartment in Palm Springs, CA from Deena Esther Brand of Brand Realty, Inc., Brand Properties, etc. 

Let's start with one of Brand's current For-Rent ads from from Craigs List April 8, 2013:

509 S. Highland Dr  $750 / 1br - (PALM SPRINGS) Brand New insulated roof with new air conditioners & heating systems make this building a real find. ... 509 S. Highland, Palm Springs  Call Nikki 

(NOTE:)  In addition to the new HVAC there was also complete replacement of ALL interior plumbing and much of the wiring. 

So stop and thinkWhere were the tenants (or former tenants?) during all of this re-construction?  Where were the tenants when for four months their roofs were ripped off, holes for duct work in the ceiling -- open to the elements, intermittent lack of power, water, hot water, NO HEAT (excuse me, Mrs. [continued below]....
..... Brand did provided every tenant with a tiny little space heater)

Add to that her rude crew rolling pallets of wood and old air conditioning units across the ceiling at
7:00AM? And where were the tenants during a heavy rainstorm in January 2013 when the apartments got flooded because the roof wasnt covered properly?  When their mattresses and upholstered furniture got soaked?  When their light fixtures filled with water?  When the workmen accidentally shoveled roof water & debris down the duct holes into the apartments?
 
How did they feel when they woke up every morning with grit in their teeth and eyes?  And they couldn't even shower because there was no hot water?

Where were the tenants when the workmen came tromping in and out from dawn to dusk as if it were
there personal home, cutting into walls, kitchen counters, spreading  choking clouds of plaster dust everywhere?  Knock on the door first?  No, they just left the doors wide open.

Ill 
tell you where the tenants were:  Trying to survive in their apartments turned slums, because they had no choice.  In fact, Mrs. Brand was quoted as saying If you dont like the conditions, move out [at your own expense]! 

Meanwhile, where is Deena Brand?  Resting comfortably in her West Hollywood /Beverly Hills home? Office? Most likely sitting there eating BonBons and counting her dollars , while kept in "protective custody" by her son David Dore Brand, her Assistant Victoria Feldman and the on-site unlicensed "sales lady"-turned-supervisor Nikki Tomasello?

Oh, maybe I shouldn't be so harsh.  After all, Mrs. Brand sprung for a cheap box of candy for each of the tenants at Christmas-time.  Too bad that as soon as you opened the box plaster dust rained on the candy.

By the way, Mrs. Brand also owns an apartment complex at 561 S Highland Dr Palm Springs and another on Ortega St.  Her son David Dore Brand owns apartments on Highland Dr as well so be mighty cautious renting an apartment anywhere in that neighborhood. 

If ever youre about to sign a lease and you notice the name Brand anywhere on papers get out of there as fast as you can or you may just be another one of Deena Brands long line of victims, living in an apartment turned into and unhealthy and hazardous construction zone.

I can't say this strongly enough:  This woman has no scruples.  As for the people who protect her?  I won't state anything as fact.  Just remember the phrase "you're known by the company you keep ..."


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/11/2013 05:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Deena-Esther-Brand/internet/Deena-Esther-Brand-Brand-Realty-Inc-Deena-Brand-calls-herself-a-LandLady-Since-when-1042597. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Did DEENA BRAND of Brand Realty, Inc. Hire non-Licensed Contractors?

AUTHOR: Aileeni-Lini - ()

One of the employees of Deena Brand at Brand Realty, Inc. in Beverly Hills, CA expressed to me recently that she didn’t believe that I kept a written log of Deena Brand’s promotion of Slumlord Conditions was “baloney”.  In fact, I did so right up until the day before I was forced out of my apartment for health and safety reason.   So -- I’m copying and pasting the log directly in here as proof.  (The only thing I updated was to add last names for clarification.)

There are many references to Tony and Luis Martinez in here.  They are supposedly the principals of Jc Construction in Palm Springs.  At this writing I’m  doubtful that they have a Contractor’s License or have reason to question that their last name is “Martinez”.  Dun and Bradstreet lists this business UNVERIFIED.  My experience is that Dun and Bradstreet is the final word when it comes to the legitimacy of a business. 

Could Deena Brand of Brand Realty, Inc. knowingly hire unlicensed contractors?  I’m not saying that she did, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Here's the log:

Date

Time

Day

Nov 20

 

  • Contacted Palm Springs Building Inspector Terry Tatum regarding possible electrical indiscretion

Nov 30

Day

  • No water all day
  • Nikki Tomasello (on-site non-licensed rental agent) told me I should go stay at my mother’s
  • Workman entered my apartment unannounced

 

Evening/Night

  • No outdoor lights, can’t see to get to the mailbox w/o flashlight. Unlit walkway & steps.
  • No hot water

 

 

 

Dec 1

Day

  • No hot water AM
  • Workmen started 7:00 AM (code violation 8:00 AM Saturdays)
  • Startled awake 7:21 AM by loud crashing & what felt like explosive thumping (heavy* debris thrown on my bedroom roof) dust and silt filtering into room. *Air conditioning units, chunks of plywood and old roofing materials, etc.
  • The dust was so bad I had trouble breathing and could feel it in my eyes and teeth, forced to leave apartment.  When I returned later my Assigned parking spot blocked by construction truck
  • Nikki Tomasello told me roof was being set up to be the collection/transfer ramp for roof removal, and that a catwalk to transport debris to dumpster would be built on/from my roof
  • I complained to Nikki Tomasello and she argued with me that none of this could be construed as uninhabitableor health issue and that “it was no big deal”  I could tell she was furious.
  • In reference to me saying I had to be in New England late Jan or early February Nikki Tomasello responded “Why don’t you just stay away for all of Jan and Feb?”  Then tried to make it sound like a joke.

 

Evening/Night

  • One make-shift light bulb, exterior, for entire complex, can’t see to get to mailbox or laundry

Dec 2

Day

  • (no construction)
  • Noticed black soot-type particles from air conditioning vents accumulating on all horizontal surfaces throughout apartment
  • Coughing a lot from dust/particles
  • Ants crawling out of the diverter and drain of the shower – been going on since September

 

Evening/Night

  • One make-shift light bulb, exterior, for entire complex.  Can’t see to do laundry, unlit steps along the way. 

 

Dec 3

Day

  • Woken at 6:32 AM by worker walking on my bedroom roof --  Code for workweek start times is 7:00 AM.
  • Very quiet day, few crew were working

 

Evening/Night

  • No outside lights, laundry room lights out also, pitch black including mailbox area

Dec 4

Happy Birthday to me!

Day

  • Woken early (before 7:00 AM loud scraping, shoveling, banging and more explosive thumping of large/heavy objects on the roof
  • Dust in the apartment thick to the point it was hard to breath
  • Water turned off
  • Electric turned off
  • Had dr. apt – she said I should be wearing a mask in here, always

 

Evening/Night

  • No outside lights, laundry room lights out also, pitch black including mailbox area

Dec 5

Day

  • Jarred awake again at 6:45 AM, same loud sounds on roof
  • Had to wear facemask
  • Water off mid-morning
  • Electricity off mid afternoon
  • Nikki Tomasello suggested to me that I could move down the street to Mr. Brand’s apartment at my expense.

 

Evening/Night

  • No outside lights, laundry room lights out also, pitch black including mailbox area

Dec 6

Day

  • Woken 6:34AM  before “Code” same loud sounds, also heard wood cracking in my bedroom ceiling
  • Heavy hammering on roof
  • More dust and black soot-like particles accumulating
  • Even with mask, am starting to feel dust in my lungs
  • Couldn’t get to laundry room, blocked by wheelbarrow and tools

 

Evening/Night

  • No outside lights, laundry room lights out also, mailboxes pitch dark

friDec 7

Day

  • Drilling on the roof all morning – produced hole in bedroom ceiling, plaster dust on floor under hole
  • Could feel dust pollution in my eyes, and on my lips and teeth
  • Complained to Nikki Tomasello (on-site non-licensed rental woman) suggested again that I go stay with my parents in Redlands
  • Workman playing loud music right against other side of adjoining wall
  • Nikki Tomasello and Deena Brand’s (owner) son
  • Dore Brand are twisting my arm to move to one of his apartments down the street.
  • Left for a while, assigned parking spot taken by work truck
  • Heard someone walking on the roof 5:36 PM, checked outside, all workers were gone.

 

Evening/Night

  • No outside walkway lights, pitch black -- laundry room lights out also

satDec 8

Day & Night

  • Jolted awake again with heavy pounding & smashing on roof started approximately 6:40 AM non-compliant with code
  • Could feel dust pollution in my eyes, and on my lips and teeth
  • Had to leave premises for remainder of day and night

Sat Dec 8 continued

Day & Night

  • Gone all day
  • Flashing clocks indicated electricity had been out
  • Air in water pipes indicated water had been turned off
  • Noticed new flashing installed at edge of roof.  Roof still piled high with debris.
  • Water in kitchen faucet cold

 

Evening/Night

  • Heard someone walking around on my roof at 10:36 PM.  Worker?
  • Shortly after went down retrieve laundry and noticed the large electrical box in there had its door wide open, which it had not been a ½ hour earlier.
  •  

Sun Dec 9

Day

  • No construction

 

Evening/Night

  • 5:27 PM Somebody is up on the roof, sounds like he’s dropping piles of something.  Worker?

Mon Dec 10

Day

  • Woke up 5:21 AM with someone on the roof – assumed it was a worker until the footsteps abruptly stopped just before?  Same time? F.G. (resident) started his truck.  Checked with construction guy Luis Martinez today – he said Sat & Sun night and this AM must have been someone stealing, and that any noise after 6:00 PM is not his crew.  I told him I’d call police if I heard it again.  This is very creepy.
  • Talked to Tony Martinez, the one of the owners I think.  Told him what Nikki Tomasello had said about that my apt was the next designated trash ramp.  He looked totally taken aback, and proceeded to tell me that was not, and never was the plan.
  • I AM GETTING THE DISTINCT FEELING THEY WANT ME OUT OF HERE.
  • Tony Martinez said best guess was that they weren’t going to do work in here until after Xmas.  Assured me they’d help with the moving.  (Nikki Tomasello has told me several X’s I had to do it myself.)
  • Talked with resident F. G. who said his girlfriend also heard noises about the same time Sat night and this A M, and also saw the electric box open Sat night.
  • Mentioned this to Tony Martinez who asked me to call him quickly before calling 911, as he’s been having tools missing.
  • Now to add to everything it’s pretty apparent there’s been a burglar/prowler hanging out on my roof.  
  • This is the 5th week of construction inside the apartments designated as Phase I.
  • Checked out how the prowler was getting on the roof.  Believe using my half-dead lemon tree which is now bending over and the collapsing fence which is now collapsing further.

 

Evening/Night

  • I was planning to go out to eat and to Rite-Aid tonight, but now I’m afraid to go out in the dark.
  • The guy on the roof came back at 1:33-ish.  Called Tony Martinez said he wanted to sleep.  Called 911, sent two squad cars but the guy “evaporated” just as they got here.  I was so freaked out, didn’t get back to sleep until after 6:00 AM.  Left Tony Martinez a detailed note on the apartment they use as an “office.”

Tues Dec 11

Day

  • Didn’t get to talk to Tony Martinez till about 4:30 PM.  Mr. Friendly from yesterday was cool and distant, clearly didn’t want to discuss.  Said he someone out here last night after I called him.  Don’t think I can trust him either.
  • Noticed a heavy patch of black particles on my bed.  Came close to calling Code Enforcement but am so tired from last night .
  • Talked to F.G. who was definitely interested and said he’d keep an eye out for me.

 

Evening/Night

  • I really need to go to the grocery store but don’t dare in the dark – this is really creepy.
  • Went to bed with flashlight and phone – just in case

Wed Dec 12

Day

  • Woken up by pounding on the roof AM, more dust to breath – left in PM, couldn’t take it any more
  • Came home to find worker in my assigned parking spot
  • Ants crawling around my computer and me during daytime, been going on for at more than a week, still in the bathroom every day
  • Still no hot water in kitchen

 

Evening/Night

  • Uneventful
  • Went to bed with flashlight and phone – just in case
  •  

Thurs Dec 13

Day

  • Sick of being woken up every morning with men on the roof.  Could hear plastic sheeting being spread because of the rain.  If I could hear plastic sheeting guess I could hear the prowler.

 

 

Evening/Night

  • Rained today, heard two residents say their roofs were leaking
  • It’s getting cold in here, 54 degrees outside, ½ the building  has no heat
  • Went to sleep with all interior/exterior lights on and phone and flashlight in my bed.

Fri Dec 13

Day

  • Extremely noisy day. Worker told me they were rolling air conditioning units across my roof.
  • Went to City Hall to complain to Code Enformcement, it was closed
  • Went to sleep with all interior/exterior lights on and phone and flashlight in my bed.

 

Evening/Night

  • No heat in half the bldg

Sat Dec 14

Day

  • Just after midnight the prowler was on my roof again.  Called police who couldn’t find him but said they’d try a “new tactic” if it happened again.
  • Noticed that the constructions crew had taken down from the roof most of the tools/materials which apparently were tempting the “prowler.”

 

Evening/Night

  • I am finding it very confining not to be able to go out in the evening, alone.  It’s 5:29 PM and already pitch dark.  A week ago today the prowler was already on the roof about now.

Sun Dec 15

Day

  • 9:15 AM Broad daylight.  Could hear someone walking stealthily on the roof.  Three times I checked to make sure what I hear, NO DOUBT.  Called Tony Martinez to make sure it wasn’t a crew member.  He said no.
  • Called police – cop was very rude & condescending and said cockily there was no one up there and I must have been hearing plastic blowing around.  Then he and the other cop chatted loudly out in the parking lot for about 10 min.  Tony Martinez was supposed to come, haven’t seen him.  I’m really pissed.
  • Also called F.G. and left a message on his phone.
  • I’m really regretting I called anybody.  They’re treating me like I’m crazy.

 

Evening/Night

Barely slept, every little sound disturbed me.

Mon Dec16

Day

  • This AM when I woke to crew footsteps on the roof I cringed
  • Nikki Tomasello emailed me this AM that work was going to start on my  roof end of this week – She said nothing about interior plumbing, but she did indicate she knew I had Tony Martinez’s telephone # with a cautionary “emergencies only” so she must know about my police calls.
  • 1:00 PM Nikki Tomasello called and pounded on my door telling me the workmen want to come in and start covering my stuff (this means plumbing work!!!) right then and there.  I told her no, I was in the middle of stuff, but tomorrow afternoon OK.
  • Called Palm Springs Code Enforcement hotline.  Palm Springs Building Inspector Terry Tatum said he didn’t know what to do
  • Late afternoon -- with absolutely no warning, five holes were blasted through my roof, pouring debris into my apartment, then left wide open to animals and the elements for the night.  (in retrospect, this must have figured out I’d called Code enforcement, because after this schedule changed back to Thursday.

 

 

Evening/Night

  • Emailed Nikki Tomasello that I planned to let workmen in according to my wishes/schedule – see email of today
  • I have no heat now and won’t until the new ducts etc are put back in.

Tues Dec18

Day

Not much sleep again, upset about so much. 

  • Lots of loud chatter outside this AM and altho in Spanish I assumed had to do with my email last night.  Moments later pounding on my door by Tony Martinez, Luis Martinez and a white guy who stood firm that they needed to come in whenever but I should call “The office” and gave me the # – I’d dissolved into tears at that point.  Called someone named “Feldman” and told her of this mess – she proposed a solution I could stay in the furnished apt in next bldg. temporarily.  Told her I couldn’t walk in there as tiles were so uneven.  Then I suggested she ask Deena Brand if Mrs. B would pay for the crew packing up my belongings and bringing them to a public storage facility.  Feldman sounded like she thought Mrs. B would be amenable.
  • I also said to Feldman I didn’t HAVE to let anybody in and she said “Yes you do because it’s a capital improvement! 
  • Wrong – Feldman left a message the Deena Brand said:  “If you don’t like the conditions, move out!”
  • It says in lease that if the unit becomes totally or partially uninhabitable that the tenant should be abated the % equal to the degree of uninhabibility
  • Joseph nephew of builder told me they’re finding all sorts of rats up on the roof.
  • Joseph came in and covered my vents with what looks like Kraft paper. 
  • Starting to rain on the vent covers.  What would happen if they hadn’t been covered?
  • Vent covers on with masking tape, starting to come loose

 

Evening/Night

  • Neighbor Troy came home last night.  Seems like I’m the only one who got their ducts ripped out yesterday.  I believe this is looking more like retaliation for not letting the workers in.

Wed Dec 19

 

  • Lots of extra loud work on the roofs.
  • Ducts are still open to the elements, dirt and debris dropping through
  • I heard someone on the roof again.  Didn’t call anybody.  I’m starting to wonder if this mystery man on the roof is part of plan to scare me out.

Thurs Dec20

 

  • Left the house early, thick frost on front and back windshields.
  • Went to see Palm Springs Building Inspector Terry Tatum today, they insisted all was kosher and there simply wasn’t any asbestos in here.  He and his female assistant hostile.
  • Day turned into hell (see emails)
  • Deena Brand saying I gave 30-day notice?  Is she starting eviction?
  • Came home to find locks disturbed.
  • Woke up over & over with coughing

Fri Dec 21

 

  • Asked Tony Martinez about locks and he said he had to get in here to get to electric box.  (He could have gotten in through Anita’s)  Also, if he has a master key and my phone # what was all the hullabaloo about yesterday?
  • They started out extra loud this AM on the roof, all the debris still falling in my apartment.  Asked Tony Martinez why they couldn’t cover them and he had some excuse so lame I can’t remember. He saw that the “patches” had given way and all the debris on my couch.
  • Luis Martinez told me this AM that Deena Brand had given him permission to move me into Apt #9 and showed me the apt.  Tony Martinez seemed shocked/surprised like he knew nothing.
  • 2:37 PM I just someone sweep roof debris right into my open hole.
  • Tony Martinez started minimal work in here removing my rubber mats and carpet, then abruptly stopped.   Also was going to install a new kitchen light in here and stopped that too.  So the fact that I was “holding up construction” yesterday ???
  • I’m just choking in here.  Seems to be getting worse.
  • Totally blew up at Luis – roof workers sweeping roof debris right into the holes in the roof.  His response:  “We’re doing the best we can  (see email.)
  • Told LuisI needed written confirmation that I was to be moved to Apt 9.  He said he was on his way to see Dore Brand Brand and would bring written document back later this eve.
  • My voice was completely gone by nighttime.

 

Sat 22v

 

  • 9:00 AM Luis Martinez brought Dore Brand Brand to the door to “prove” it was OK to move into Apt #9.
  • Brand jumped back when he heard my voice, told him I wasn’t sick, was just a reaction to roof debris.
  • Dore Brand Brand said I didn’t need written proof of being moved to Apt #9 because his Word was all I need.
  • Later Luis Martinez sent some housekeeping girls to clean up my place a bit.
  • Late this aft Luis Martinez said Apt #9 was all cleaned out for me and I could move in as soon as I was ready.  I said I needed written confirmation.  He said he’d write it.  Never did.
  • 5:48 PM  Definitely heard someone on the roof.  Didn’t call anybody.  I really believe this has something to do with trying to drive me out of here.
  • Was just about to go out and do laundry.  No I can’t.
  • Wish I hadn’t told Luis Martinez when I was going to be gone this weekend.

Sunday Dec 23

 

Water in my shower isn’t hot

Still no written confirmation as to terms or conditions if I move to Apt # 9

Voice still gone, terrible cough, back muscles hurt from coughing.

 

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#2 Author of original report

Deena Brand of Brand Realty, Inc -- Tenant's Property in ~ Ruin ~

AUTHOR: Aileeni-Lini - ()

The response above and your moral support are truly appreciated. Trying to protect & defend myself against Deena Brand has left me desperate, both emotionally and financially, but your input has given me enough back-bone to disclose matters more personally, besides which I don't have much more to lose... including my ruined personal property (photos below).

I am the person who identified herself as "Victimized" when I filed the initial complaint. It also might help the readers to know that I'm not some young, insolent, trouble-making tenant, but rather I am 65 years old, physically disabled with limited mobility, and living on limited resources.

To add a little info, I was forced out of my apartment due to a deliberate and retaliatory move on the part of Deena Brand's construction crew. While sitting on the very spot on my couch where the last photo shows the debris, the crew intentionally shoveled roof debris (old fiberglass, paint, bits of tar, plaster etc.) down onto me -- my "reward" for reporting them to the Building Inspector. The allergic reaction was severe and while gasping for air, can still hear the crew up on the roof laughing.

Some things you just don't forget!

To be continued ...

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#3 Consumer Comment

Renters Beware

AUTHOR: anonymous - ()

I also rented property from Deena Brand. Your article brought back very similar ( and worse...) memories, and I have great sympathy for you. The Brand family, and their staff were horrible to the tenants. I once saw a guy in front of our building just after viewing an apartment. When he realized that the owner was Deena Brand, who he had dealings with in another city,  he practically ran to his car.

The most difficult decision for a renter is when to throw in the towel and move. When it comes to this real estate company, my advice is to move. Your quality of life outweighs the cost of the move. I don't know how these greedy, unscrupulous people stay out of jail. What I do know is that what you do to others will eventually be done to you. Being known as a "Slum Landlord," is not something that I would be proud of. 

I wish you all the very best of luck. No matter how hard you try to get the Brands to become responsible, honest property owners- the situation will not change until the laws protecting renters are enforced. To readers who are in the market for real estate: find out if a propert is owned, or overseen by any member of the Brand family. Then put on your track shoes, and, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

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