Low-income residents of a Chinatown SRO who say their landlord is attempting to push them out in favor of more lucrative tenants filed a lawsuit this week.

The lawsuit filed Monday by the Asian Law Caucus on behalf of a group of tenants at 1350 Stockton St. alleges “unlawful intimidation, coercion, discrimination and harassment designed to pressure these long-term tenants out of their homes in pursuit of profit” on the part of Valstock Management.

San Francisco-based Valstock Ventures, LLC, has owned the Stockton Street building since 2000, but began managing it in Fall 2016.

Tenants at that time began receiving $200 fines for hanging their laundry out to dry, which was never an issue with the previous landlord, according to the lawsuit.

Hui Zhen Hu, a 72-year-old tenant, said that the chief of operations for the management company, Kelvin Yee, threw her clothes that were hanging to dry into the dumpster and she had to dig through thrown away food to get them out.

“Regardless of what they (Valstock) say their intentions are, tenants are currently being hurt by their bad policies and that’s what we really need to fix right now,” said Katherine Chu, a housing rights attorney with the Asian Law Caucus.

Most of the 100 tenants in the single residency occupancy building are seniors, have limited knowledge of English and are low-income Chinese immigrants

The property owner has also put up notices and 40-page lease agreements in English only and told the mostly Chinese-speaking tenants that if they do not understand English they need to speak to an attorney, the Asian Law Caucus said.

“For a long time there were no issues communicating with the tenants and Valstock hasn’t lost the ability to communicate with the tenants in Cantonese,” said Jessamyn Edra, a housing rights attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. “They have employees at their office who do speak Cantonese but choose not to be responsive to the questions and have in some instances just walked away when they have questions.”

A lot of the tenants rely on social security income to pay their rents.They make about $800 each month from social security benefits and their rents are controlled around $500-$600 each month, the Chinatown Community Development Center.

An 80 square-foot studio apartment in the building, with no bathroom or kitchen, is going for $1,050 per month on the Valstock Management’s website as of Tuesday afternoon.

“At stake here is definitely more than just a single unit in this building, it is about what this community looks like,” Edra said.

Valstock Management declined to comment.

Sadie Gribbon
Share
Published by
Sadie Gribbon

Recent Posts

SF prosecutors accuse public defender of impropriety in murder case

San Francisco prosecutors on Monday alleged Public Defender Jeff Adachi may have committed a misdemeanor when he interviewed four grand…

2 hours ago

Weekend collisions leave scooter rider, pedestrian with life-threatening injuries

Two people suffered life-threatening injuries in separate traffic collisions this weekend in San Francisco, police said. The first collision occurred…

3 hours ago

Warriors, Bob Myers optimistic they will re-sign Patrick McCaw

OAKLAND -- The Golden State Warriors kicked off the 2018-19 season at media day on Monday, and there was one…

4 hours ago

Muni delays make politicos late to Transit Week event

With a latte from Caffe Trieste in one hand and a bus handle bar in the other, Supervisor Aaron Peskin…

4 hours ago

San Francisco 49ers officially announce that Jimmy Garoppolo tore ACl against Kansas City

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has officially sustained an ACL tear, the team announced shortly after noon on Monday.…

5 hours ago

Golden State Warriors announce staff promotions, including Nick Kerr

OAKLAND -- Ahead of Monday's official media day, the Golden State Warriors announced a slew of promotions throughout the organization,…

6 hours ago