SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The City of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the owners of three Chinatown single room occupancy (SRO) hotels for creating a public nuisance and letting dozens of health and safety violations linger.
The lawsuit was filed against SRO hotel owners Jeff Appendrodt, Shailendra Devdhara, and Kamlesh Patel. The suit demands relief for tenants and city departments that spent years trying to get the landlords to abate dangerous conditions at the properties, according to the city attorney.
“It is unacceptable that dozens of immigrant tenants have had to live under these unsafe and unhealthy conditions,” said City Attorney David Chiu. The three landlords “profited off the suffering of their tenants. The owners need to be held accountable,” Chiu said.
Through different ownership configurations, the defendants own three SRO hotels in Chinatown located at 1449 Powell Street, 790 Vallejo Street, and 912 Jackson Street. Kamlesh Patel purchased 790 Vallejo Street and 912 Jackson Street in May 2023, and is not involved with violations at 1449 Powell Street. The properties contain 81 SRO rooms and dwelling units.
One tenant said at a news conference held Tuesday, “They stopped providing cleaning and pest control. They ignore our request for repairs. We have problems with rodents and crows.”
The owners illegally converted, combined, or added unauthorized SRO rooms and dwelling units, according to the lawsuit. Additional code violations included broken and rusted plumbing, exposed electrical wiring, insect infestations, mold and mildew, unsanitary shared restrooms, broken doors and locks, and damaged ceilings, floors, and walls.
“Our warnings were ignored. Our violations were disregarded. For years, we’ve tried to bring these properties into compliance and made only modest progress. That changes today,” said Department of Building Inspector director Patrick O’Riordan. “I want every San Franciscan to know that we will stand up for you when your rights are being trampled.”
“The investors who bought these three buildings ignored years of tenant complaints and notices of code violations,” said Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director of Chinatown Community Development Center. “Low-income seniors and families are entitled to decent, safe, and sanitary conditions like everyone else.”
Dating back to 2018, multiple city departments issued Notices of Violation for health, safety, and building infractions at the three properties.
The lawsuit accuses the SRO building owners of creating a public nuisance that endangers the health and safety of the tenants and neighbors.