Thursday, April 24, 2008

SF Tenants Accuse Landlords of Creative Ventilation

Posted By on Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 10:45 AM

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Today’s Chronicle offers up a horrifying tale of tenant abuse. A SoMa landlord couple purchased a three-story apartment building and promptly began evicting the five tenants, some of which preferred not to move. Thus began what the Chron describes as a “campaign of terror” during which the landlords allegedly told workers to cut support beams to the apartment, shut off electricity and phone service, ripped off $2,000 in cash and a Gucci watch, and in a move cribbed from Wile E. Coyote -- ordered a hole cut in the floor of one apartment from beneath.

While the grievances filed against these landlords are extreme, there’s no shortage of crazy landlord stories. My favorite crazy landlord eschewed the tiresome formalities of “Hello” and shot straight to the more pointed “What do you want?” and “I’m out of the country,” when answering the phone. Interestingly, his business trips and vacations seemed to coincide with our plumbing problems. But many renters' horror stories careen right past poor phone skills into small claims court, so leave your best crazy landlord stories in the comments below.

And don’t forget that the June 3 ballot includes Prop 98, which would effectively ends rent control, giving landlords a compelling reason to find a way to boot existing tenants. -Andy Wright

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