The San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit today against a family that owns and operates at least 15 San Francisco single-room occupancy hotels for violating health, safety and tenancy rights regulations.
Residents of the more than 880 single-room occupancy rooms, or SROs, owned and operated by members of the Thakor family have been forced to tolerate bedbugs, roach and rodent infestations, mold and mildew, raw sewage leaks, defective wiring and other unsafe conditions, according to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court by City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
Residents of the city-contracted SRO hotels have allegedly been forced to vacate rooms before they could accumulate 30 days of residency to prevent them from attaining tenancy rights such as rent control and eviction protection, Herrera said.
“The Thakor family has exploited low-income residents by denying them tenancy rights,” Herrera said. “They’ve defiantly thumbed their noses at city inspectors over pervasive code violations, which endanger residents and neighbors alike. And they’ve billed taxpayers for providing clients of city programs with ‘clean, safe, habitable’ housing, when it was anything but clean, safe, or habitable.”
Herrera said the family has defrauded taxpayers under the California False Claims Act and are in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. The suit names Balvantsinh “Bill” Thakor, Kiransinh Thakor, Bahavasinh Thakor and Lataben B. Thakor and their business entities.
Members of the Thakor family could not be immediately reached for comment on the lawsuit or the condition of their hotels, which include the Civic Center Hotel on Market Street and the Warfield Hotel on Taylor Street.
Most of the Thakor family’s SRO hotels are located in the Tenderloin, South of Market, mid-Market and Mission District neighborhoods, according to the city attorney.
Hannah Albarazi/Drew Himmelstein, Bay City News