Landlords allowed immigrant tenants to live in illegal and unsafe units
SAN FRANCISCO (May 26, 2022) — City Attorney David Chiu announced today that he filed a lawsuit against the landlords of a 22-unit building in the Ingleside neighborhood for creating unsafe living conditions and allowing commercial and storage units to be used as residential spaces. The lawsuit was filed against property owners Naim and Sana Jamali, who have profited off of renting illegal and unsafe units to immigrant tenants for years.
“This property has been a tragedy waiting to happen,” said City Attorney Chiu. “It is the height of greed to profit off of conditions that put tenants in significant harm’s way. These landlords are savvy operators, who have managed to slow roll critical repairs for years. It is time they make things right for their tenants.”
The property at 333 Randolph Street consists of 4 residential units and 18 commercial and basement storage units. Despite this, the owners allowed at least 13 of the commercial spaces and windowless basement rooms to be used as residences. Leases in the City’s possession reveal the Jamalis charged tenants thousands of dollars per month.
Rather than install code-compliant wiring, the owners relied extensively on extension cords to provide power throughout the building, creating a hazardous situation. Additional violations include lack of adequate fire escape routes, absence of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, structural hazards, unpermitted kitchens and bathrooms, and improper waste and vent piping.
In addition to the action filed by the City, several of the landlords’ tenants have sued them over habitability issues in the past. Several tenants alleged that the owners targeted immigrants with limited English proficiency and entered into commercial leases knowing that the tenants would be living in commercial units.
The City’s lawsuit alleges the defendants created a public nuisance and profited from collecting rent from tenants living in illegal and unsafe units. Additionally, the City asserts the owners violated state housing law, multiple municipal codes, and California’s Unfair Competition Law. The City is seeking penalties, fees, and injunctive relief to cure the violations at the property.
The case is City and County of San Francisco and the People of the State of California v. Naim Jamali, et al. The complaint can be found here.