The land barons who build high-priced pied a terres on Market Street aren't the only ones cashing in on San Francisco's booming real estate market -- and concomitant affordable housing crisis.
Some landlords, it turns out, skip over the city's ascendant class altogether, choosing instead to prey on its most vulnerable.
That practice came to light in a lawsuit that City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed in San Francisco Superior Court today, against the owners and operators of at least 15 single room occupancy hotels (SROs) that are meant to serve people on low or fixed incomes.
According to the complaint, defendants Balvantsinh, Kiransinh, Bahavasinh and Lataben B. Thakor routinely violate health and safety code violations, force tenants out before they can gain 30 consecutive days of residency (and with it, crucial eviction protections), and leave their rooms in execrable conditions.
Among the litany of violations are broken and defective sprinklers, bedbugs and rodent infestations, cockroaches, mildew, inadequate bathrooms, broken elevators, bad wiring, lead paint chips, unlicensed construction work, and poor trash facilities. Many of these squalid firetraps sit right in the shadow of the city's most palatial chateaus in SOMA and the Mission District.
Members of the Thakor family were not immediately available for comment.
Herrera seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each unlawful business act, and he demands that the Thakors turn over all their illegally obtained profits.
You can read the suit here: