money.jpgSan Francisco’s largest-ever settlement with a property owner for housing code violations was announced today by Supervisor Malia Cohen and other city officials.

Bayview Property Managers, a company run by James Blanding, agreed to pay an $800,000 penalty in a settlement after being cited 52 times for various violations on 18 of its properties around the city.

The agreement was reached two weeks ago to avoid a civil trial in a lawsuit filed by the city attorney’s office in 2006.

Cohen, whose district includes most of the properties cited in the case, said in a news conference at City Hall today that residents were subjected to “deplorable living conditions,” including collapsed ceilings, rotting stairs and raw sewage that would leak in front of buildings.

“Settlements like this are so important,” Cohen said. “They demonstrate to tenants and property owners that the city is serious about code enforcement.”

The terms of the settlement require Bayview Property Managers to correct all violations of the housing code by Sept. 15, and that all properties be inspected by the end of the year, as well as annually for the next five years.

The properties include buildings on Revere Avenue, Oakdale Avenue, Ingerson Avenue, Folsom Street, Third Street and Newhall Street.

James Sanbonmatsu, a housing inspector with the city’s Department of Building Inspection, said Blanding, a licensed contractor and member of the Board of Deacons at Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco, was a “negligent” landlord whose repairs were often inadequate.

“He doesn’t really go and solve the problem, instead we get these temporary, cosmetic solutions,” Sanbonmatsu said.

Blanding was not immediately available for comment today on the settlement.

Current and former tenants at Blanding’s properties also spoke at today’s news conference, saying their apartments were among those that were subject to neglect.
Vela Valentino, who lives on Revere Avenue, said her unit “always has something wrong with it.”

Valentino said it flooded so badly once that she “needed rain boots to walk into the apartment,” and said that Blanding never answers his phone when there is something wrong with the unit.

“Hopefully this opens his eyes,” she said. “They say the best way to hit somebody is to hit them in the pockets.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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