Court order demands landlords fix code violations in Ingleside Heights building

A pair of landlords who own a commercial building in Ingleside Heights have been ordered by a judge to bring their building up to code, according to a press release from San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. A lawsuit was filed by Chiu after complaints that the landlords had rented illegal and unsafe units out to immigrant tenants for years. 

The landlords, identified as Naim and Sana Jamali, own a 22-unit building on Randolph Street. 

The city attorney says the pair created a public nuisance and violated multiple state and city laws when they allowed their commercial storage units to be used as residential spaces. 

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos issued an injunction which will require the Jamalis to "cure all outstanding code violations" and build a plan to legalize the units. The injunction also requires that the landlords offer protections to the existing tenants as they bring the building up to code. 

"For years, these landlords put profit over the safety of their tenants," said 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 on Randolph Street has four residential units and 18 commercial and basement storage units. The city attorney found that the Jamalis allowed 13 of the commercial spaces and windowless basement rooms to be leased as residences. The landlords charged tenants thousands of dollars per month for the below-code units. 

The electrical system at the property was not built to support tenant needs, causing many of the tenants to rely on extension cords, which the city attorney says created fire risk. There was also a lack of fire escape routes as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

City inspectors also found structural hazards including unpermitted kitchens and bathrooms as well as improper waste and vent piping.  

Several of the tenants have previously sued the Jamali's over habitability issues, alleging that the owners targeted immigrants who didn't speak English well. 

The injunction against the Jamalis will be in place for 5 years, and the court is planning to issue a decision on what penalties they must pay to the city.