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San Francisco suing 3 Chinatown property owners over health, safety violations

PIX Now afternoon edition 10-10-23
PIX Now afternoon edition 10-10-23 06:08

SAN FRANCISCO — A lawsuit from the city of San Francisco accuses three Chinatown property owners of letting health and safety violations fester at their hotels, creating a public nuisance for residents and neighbors.

Jeff Appendrodt, Shailendra Devdhara, Kamlesh Patel and five associated limited liability companies are named in the suit, alongside the properties at 1449 Powell Street, 790 Vallejo Street and 912 Jackson Street.

Patel is not connected to the 1449 Powell Street property, but he is connected to the 790 Vallejo Street and 912 Jackson Street properties, having bought them in May 2023, according to the city.

"For years, we've tried to bring these properties into compliance and made only modest progress. Our warnings were ignored. Our violations were disregarded. That changes today," said Department of Building Inspector (DBI) Director Patrick O'Riordan.

The issued Notices of Violations at the three properties stretch back as far as 2018. The city lists health, safety and building infractions, which include:

  • broken and rusted plumbing
  • exposed electrical wiring
  • insect infestations
  • mold and mildew
  • unsanitary shared restrooms
  • malfunctioning appliances
  • lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • seismic safety risks
  • insufficient emergency exits
  • broken doors and locks
  • missing hardware
  • broken windows and frames
  • damaged paint with lead risks
  • damaged ceilings, floors and walls

"It is unacceptable that dozens of immigrant tenants have had to live under these unsafe and unhealthy conditions," said City Attorney David Chiu.

According to the city, the three properties also have at least "14 unauthorized SRO rooms and dwelling units."

Several violations have been remedied over the years, but city officials say there are 21 related to health and sanitation, structural damage and work without permits that have not been addressed.

The three property owners are also accused of violating state housing law and California's Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit claims the property owners profited from renting out dwellings with violations which gave them an unfair advantage over similar landlords who do not "(engage) in such practices."

San Francisco is seeking penalties, fees, and injunctive relief to cure the violations at the properties.

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