Judge orders landlords to perform maintenance

The landlords of a San Francisco apartment building allegedly beset by maintenance problems will be required to make repairs immediately as the result of a temporary restraining order issued

Wednesday.

Chiu Luk and Teresa Luk, owners of 555 Hyde St., have been repeatedly cited for health and safety code violations including defective locks, rodent infestation, broken fire escapes, inadequate lighting, a nonworking elevator, unsafe stairways, mold damage and missing fire extinguishers, according to the City Attorney’s Office.

San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Nelli Palma said Wednesday that The City had been contacting the Luks for more than a year regarding repairs to the apartment building.

Finally, Palma said, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado signed the restraining order requiring that certain repairs be done in 24-, 48- and 72-hour periods.

The restraining order requires the landlords to make specified repairs or be held in contempt of court, whichcould result in jail time.

Reached at her home, Teresa Luk declined to comment, but James Chou, the son of the building’s property manager, Ting Chou, said the problem lies not with the building’s maintenance but with lax law enforcement. He said people repeatedly smash the lock on the front gate.

“It’s not right for them to impose and tell people you have to put security here and security there. Security is what we pay taxes for the police to come and patrol the area, but it’s obviously not happening,” he said.

Tenants James Murray and Christopher Gonzales wrote in a declaration that the lock on the front door is not flush, allowing it to be pried open with all manner of metal objects.

They said people come in and drink, do drugs and engage in prostitution.

“We even fear that the building may burn down because of the activity that takes place inside,” they wrote.

Palma said she spoke with Chiu Luk after the hearing Wednesday, and that he was at Home Depot buying supplies for the repairs.

“I think we’ve succeeded and turned a corner,” she said. “The City’s done good, the court’s done good, and I think the folks who are going to benefit are the tenants.”

The Luks are due back in court Aug. 31, at which time The City will seek an injunction requiring further repair work.

amartin@examiner.com

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