Herrera Sues Defiant Landlord for Fire Safety, Housing Code Violations

Owners of 721-Unit Lakewood Apartment Complex Broke Numerous Promises Over Two Years to Bring Fire Alarm System Up to Code

SAN FRANCISCO (March 19, 2007) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued the owners of Lakewood Apartments, a 721-unit complex on John Muir Drive, for their failure over a period of nearly two years to install fire alarm systems in compliance with state and local law. According to the civil suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, representatives from Delaware Lakewood Apartments, LLC made numerous representations to City officials since receiving their first Order to Abate Fire Hazard in April 2005 that they planned to install an Underwriters Laboratory Certificated fire alarm operating system throughout their buildings and apartment units, as required by the law. Despite many promises of cooperation by the owners, however, fire marshals repeatedly found Lakewood Apartments in willful defiance of legal requirements that fire alarm systems be operational and in compliance with the California Building Code and San Francisco Fire Code.

“Lakewood Apartments is illegally subjecting its tenants to a serious life safety hazard — yet it’s a violation they have refused to take seriously,” Herrera said. “San Francisco Fire Marshals and deputies in my office have worked diligently and in good faith with these property owners for nearly two years to bring their fire safety system up to code. But after months of broken promises, it’s clear they have no intention of obeying the law voluntarily.”

Herrera’s lawsuit alleges that the property and structures located at 501-695 John Muir Drive have been maintained as a public nuisance and in violation of the San Francisco Fire Code and California Building and Health and Safety Codes; and that Delaware Lakewood Apartments, LLC is also in violation of the state Unfair Competition Law. In addition to injunctive relief that would compel the company’s compliance with the law, Herrera is seeking disgorgement of all profits and civil penalties of $1,000 for each day of owners are found in violation of housing codes; $2,500 for each act of unfair and unlawful competition; and an additional $2,500 for each unlawful business practice that harmed seniors or disabled persons. The lawsuit also seeks attorneys’ fees and costs.

The case is City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Delaware Lakewood Apartments, LLC. San Francisco Superior Court, filed March 19, 2007.