Attorneys Ryan Vlasak, center, and Ken Greenstein, left, announce a new lawsuit against Veritas Investments on behalf of tenants in 30 Veritas-owned buildings throughout San Francisco including Madelyn McMillian, top left, Ray Sullivan, top right, and Doris Johnson, right, at a news conference outside City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Attorneys Ryan Vlasak, center, and Ken Greenstein, left, announce a new lawsuit against Veritas Investments on behalf of tenants in 30 Veritas-owned buildings throughout San Francisco including Madelyn McMillian, top left, Ray Sullivan, top right, and Doris Johnson, right, at a news conference outside City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Tenant lawsuit alleges SF’s largest landlord trying to drive out residents with rent control

Attorneys who represent more than 100 tenants of the largest landlord in San Francisco filed a lawsuit Thursday morning alleging the company is actively working to drive out rent-controlled tenants.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 68 plaintiffs, is the fourth the attorneys representing the tenants have filed against Veritas Investments, which they say owns more than 300 residential buildings in The City.

“This is one of the biggest lawsuits ever filed by tenants in San Francisco,” attorney Ken Greenstein said. “Veritas Investments has made it clear they want to get their rent-controlled tenants out.”

SEE RELATED: Major landlord rebrands amid criticism from tenants, lawmakers

“We have a message for Veritas Investments,” he said. “Leave your tenants alone, and stop trying to force them out, and make their life miserable so they will move out.”

The suit alleges Veritas takes over buildings and then deliberately targets tenants with rent control. Among other tactics, the company deliberately schedules disruptive construction that makes it “unbearable” for tenants to be in their units, fails to make needed repairs to units, and regularly shuts off utilities such as water and gas for extended periods of time, sometimes without notice, according to the complaint.

The suit also alleges Veritas has engaged in questionable practices of increasing rents through cost “pass-throughs,” by securing high-interest loans and passing the interest charges on to tenants.

SEE RELATED: Supervisors work to stop SF landlords from passing management costs on to tenants

Greenstein encouraged tenants of Veritas who are being harassed or treated unfairly to contact the rent board, their supervisors, and the Department of Building Inspection.

Veritas COO Justin Sato said in a written statement that many of the buildings Veritas has purchased are in need of substantial improvements, which they “undertake with validly obtained permits, and all the speed allowed by San Francisco’s exacting building inspection process.”

“We have not been served, so we cannot respond to allegations we haven’t seen. However, we dispute all claims that we are hostile or negligent toward our valued residents in any way,” Sato said. “We are proud of our record as a landlord in San Francisco, and the data The City keeps about our work is contrary to these allegations. We look forward to refuting them.”

The City Attorney’s Office was not immediately available for comment.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott leaves the scene of an officer-involved shooting at Brannan Street and Jack London Alley in the South Park area on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chief Scott issues rare apology to man shot by SF police

Officer says he ‘did not intend for his firearm to go off’

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Most Read