San Francisco Landlords Plead Guilty To Making Tenants’ Lives Miserable

The couple who took over ownership of a San Francisco apartment building in 2006 wanted their tenants out. That can be very inconvenient for the tenants, but it happens. The tactics they used during their two-year reign of tenant terror were unusual, ranging from stealing and trashing tenants’ belongings to cutting floorboards, setting fires, and forging e-mailed death threats from tenants to their own attorneys.

The landlords’ goal was to throw all of the tenants out, renovate, and sell the building or raise rents (accounts vary), but one disabled tenant who fought eviction stood in their way. “Scott get lost! Get a job!” they wrote on a work permit that they shoved under his door when he reported them for doing construction work on a neighboring unit without a permit. The landlords reportedly cut power and water to unwanted tenants’ apartments, threw pebbles at windows, and played loud music for hours on end, stomping on floors while they were at it.

The tenants still wouldn’t leave? The landlords cut holes in floors and cut support beams, hoping to get the building declared uninhabitable so they could throw everyone out. Unfortunately, they got arrested for their campaign instead.

In 2009, the couple turned down a plea deal of one year in county jail and five years of probation. Well, they didn’t just turn it down: they also fled the country, hiding out in Italy for two years. They were ultimately extradited, with diplomatic police dragging them back to San Francisco for their trial. Now they’ll both have to serve time in state prison: four years and four months each under their plea agreement. Maybe they didn’t want to face a jury of renters.

‘Landlords from hell’ deal includes prison time [San Francisco Chronicle] (Thanks, Sandy!)
Bizarre account of S.F. eviction battle [San Francisco Chronicle]