City Attorney Dennis Herrera (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City Attorney Herrera wins $245K settlement in low-income tenant discrimination case

City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Friday announced a $245,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed against Lem-Ray Properties for allegedly discriminating against low-income tenants by refusing to accept government housing vouchers.

As part of the settlement, Lem-Ray agreed to court oversight to ensure they comply with the Federal Housing Act and also to advertise to prospective tenants that they accept Section 8 vouchers.

“San Francisco’s laws are clear, and they protect low-income renters from systematic discrimination,” Herrera said. “We’re going to make sure the law is followed. Section 8 housing vouchers are an essential tool for many renters to secure housing in our city. It’s unacceptable for landlords like Lem-Ray Properties to disregard the law and effectively push out working class residents. We’re in a severe housing crisis, and it’s critical that we protect programs that offer renters a fighting chance to stay in San Francisco.”

The settlement is the result of a 2015 civil complaint Herrera filed against Lem-Ray Properties, which is associated with the Lembi family’s real estate operations, and broker Chuck Post over illegally refusing to accept Section 8 vouchers from low-income rental applicants.

Section 8 vouchers are administered locally by the San Francisco Housing Authority and allow low-income families to secure housing in the private rental market. Renters pay 30 percent of their income toward rent and the Section 8 vouchers covers the remainin cost.

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