A 26-year-old Los Angeles-based model has demanded an early release from her lease, expressing concerns for her personal safety following the deaths of two women in the modeling industry in their luxury downtown apartments.
Brittany Mason, a fellow model, disclosed her urgent desire to relocate, but initially faced resistance from her landlord, as the unsettling news of Maleesa Mooney, 31, and Nichole “Nikki” Coats, 32, surfaced within 48 hours of each other.
Mason, however, confirmed that she has now been granted an early lease termination. The unsettling events unfolded with the discovery of Mooney’s lifeless body on Sept. 12 in her apartment complex, located in the Skye at Bunker Hill luxury apartments on Figueroa Street, just two days after the police found Coats deceased in her apartment, which was less than a mile away, on Sept. 10.
Breaking a Lease in California
In California, the breaking of an apartment lease by tenants is not an uncommon occurrence. Whether due to unforeseen circumstances, job relocations or personal reasons, breaking a lease can happen. However, tenants are typically bound by the terms of their lease agreement and may be subject to penalties or fees for early termination.
Under certain circumstances, there are exceptions that allow a tenant to end a lease prior to the expiration period. The state law gives tenants who have experienced domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and specific other criminal offenses the right to terminate their lease early. Another grievance that is an exception is if tenants feel that their building is unsafe or violates California’s health and safety codes.
As of September 2023, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Los Angeles, California, is $2,632, according to the rental website Zumper.
Mason has not revealed how much her rent is.
Police officials have determined the deaths of two models discovered in their separate downtown apartments within days are unrelated, with authorities investigating only one of the cases as a potential homicide.
The close proximity of these tragic incidents has deeply disturbed Mason, who described an atmosphere of unease in her residence since Mooney’s murder. She cited witnessing individuals sleeping in stairwells and unfamiliar faces frequenting the premises. Mason also reportedly expressed concerns about the unit across from hers, where frequent changes in occupancy and large gatherings raised security apprehensions.
Speaking to KTLA, she stated, “Initially, the unit across from me, people were subleasing it, so I was seeing different people coming in and out every day, and the other thing was, at one point, people were having big parties and there were tons of men coming through here.”
While authorities have confirmed that Maleesa Mooney’s death was a homicide, they have not officially classified Nichole “Nikki” Coats’ demise as a murder.
Mooney’s sister turned to social media to express her grief and initiated the hashtag #JUSTICEFORMALEESA in an effort to aid in the search for the perpetrator.
“I keep waking up crying, thinking I’m in a bad dream. We will get justice for you, my sister. I promise you won’t be forgotten in vain!!! The people you touched and loved will continue your legacy with the utmost love and affection,” Pauline posted on Instagram. “You did not deserve this tragedy at all.”
The last contact from Coats was made on Sept. 8 when she informed her friends that she was going on a date, further intensifying concerns within the local modeling community about safety and security.