San Franicisco judge orders slumlords to clean
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
August 10, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The owners of a Tenderloin apartment
building could face fines of more than $100,000 and possibly jail
time if their tenants don't see a swift improvement in living
conditions, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ordered yesterday.
Judge Paul Alvarado issued a temporary restraining order against
Chiu Ki Luk and Teresa K. Luk, the owners of a nine-unit apartment
building at 555 Hyde St., which could be deemed a public nuisance
if a lawsuit prevails.
Complaints of defective locks, rodent infestation, broken fire
escapes, inadequate lighting, a broken elevator, unsafe stairways,
mold and blatant criminal activity in the building's common areas
have all been ignored by the landlords, according to the lawsuit
filed by City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
"These tenants have been forced to deal with lawlessness
and filth that is often far worse in their own hallways than what
they would encounter in the streets," Herrera said in a statement.
During their investigation, city inspectors found feces, discarded
hypodermic needles and used condoms in the hallways.
The city attorney's office has worked with the Department of
Building Inspection and the Department of Public Health for more
than a year on issues with the property, citing the owners and
sending orders of abatement.
But those orders have gone largely unnoticed by the owners, according
to Herrera, who hopes the judge's action will catch their attention.
"This is an egregious example of neglect by defiant landlords
who refuse to obey laws intended to protect the health and safety
of residents and neighbors," Herrera said.
"These tenants are entitled to habitable conditions for
the rent they pay, and we're taking a very aggressive stand to
ensure they are protected."
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