Friday, September 16, 2016

San Francisco City Attorney: Landlord's Predatory Business Model Used To Bully Tenants Into Surrendering Their Rent-Controlled Apartments "One Of The Most Ruthless In Recent Memory"; Cites "Breathtaking Cruelty" For Targeting Elderly, Disabled Renters

From the Office of the City Attorney of San Francisco, California:
  • City Attorney Dennis Herrera has sued San Francisco landlord Anne Kihagi for an egregious pattern of unlawful business practices that includes waging “a war of harassment, intimidation, and retaliation” against tenants to force them from their rent-controlled homes. Once vacated, according to Herrera’s complaint, Kihagi offers the apartments to new tenants at substantially higher rents.

    But the full scope of related violations and appalling tactics employed by Kihagi, her business associates and companies under their control — as detailed in the 38-page complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court [] — distinguishes their predatory business model as one of the most ruthless in recent memory. Herrera’s office continues to investigate possible wrongdoing among the more than 50 rent-controlled apartments Kihagi has acquired in San Francisco since 2013. But the investigation has already established compelling and actionable evidence of illegal tactics to bully tenants into surrendering their rent-controlled apartments. At least six elderly and disabled renters were among those targeted for harassment by Kihagi or her agents, according to the complaint, including a 65-year-old Army veteran battling cancer, a 71-year-old retired school crossing guard, and a bedridden 91-year-old great grandmother.

    Herrera’s civil suit alleges that Kihagi or her agents: interrupted gas, electric, water, and cable service; disrupted mail service; failed to cash rent checks, only to later claim them as untimely rent payments; backdated correspondence and notices; violated tenants’ privacy by entering their apartments without required notice; refused to timely abate unsafe and substandard habitability conditions; and even retaliated against tenants who cooperated with city inspectors by installing video surveillance cameras aimed at the residents’ front doors.

    Well-known among tenants for her harassing text messages and shrieking, expletive-ridden personal interactions, Kihagi is even reported to have made an apparent threat against a tenant’s cat, urging the resident to be careful “because someone might let her out.”
For more, see Herrera sues landlord Kihagi for harassing, displacing tenants from rent-controlled homes (Calling defendant ‘among the most abusive and lawless landlords I’ve encountered,’ City Attorney cites ‘breathtaking cruelty’ for targeting elderly, disabled renters).

For the lawsuit, see People v. Kihagi.

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