City Attorney secures court victory against landlords who profited off of unsafe units

Court order holds landlords accountable for allowing tenants to live in illegal and unsafe units
City Attorney David Chiu speaks at a press conference in May 2023

SAN FRANCISCO (December 13, 2023) — City Attorney David Chiu announced today that the City won a lawsuit against two Ingleside Heights landlords, who have profited off of renting illegal and unsafe units to immigrant tenants for years. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos found that Defendants Naim and Sana Jamali, the owners of a 22-unit building at 333 Randolph Street, created a public nuisance and violated multiple State and City laws by allowing commercial and storage units to be used as residential spaces. The Court issued an injunction requiring Defendants to cure all outstanding code violations and create a plan to legalize the dwelling units that also protects existing tenants.

“For years, these landlords put profit over the safety of their tenants,” said City Attorney Chiu. “That behavior is unacceptable and illegal. We are pleased the Court agreed that the Defendants need to be held accountable and their code violations must be cured as soon as possible.”

The property at 333 Randolph Street consists of four 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.

A city inspection revealed that the electrical system was inadequate for the tenants’ needs, which caused the tenants to rely on extension cords, creating fire risks. Additional code violations include the 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 Court found Defendants created a public nuisance by violating State Housing Law, California’s Unfair Competition Law, San Francisco Building Code, San Francisco Electrical Code, San Francisco Fire Code, San Francisco Housing Code, and San Francisco Planning Code.

The injunction will be in place for five years. In February 2024, the Court is expected to issue a Statement of Decision and Judgement regarding the penalties Defendants must pay to the City.

City Attorney’s Office employees Morris Allen, Jennifer Choi, Wade Chow, Yvonne Meré, Megan Ryan, and Gloria Torres worked on this litigation to hold Defendants accountable for the unsafe conditions created at 333 Randolph.

The case is City and County of San Francisco and the People of the State of California v. Naim Jamali, et al., San Francisco Superior Court, No. CGC-22-599795. The injunction can be found here.