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

Charles Joseph, who is represented by the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, is facing deportation to Fiji. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Giving immigrants a second chance after incarceration

Legislation would allow some faced with deportation a chance to challenge their old convictions

The San Francisco Police Department released body camera footage of the alleged assault on Dacari Spiers. (Via SFPD Body Cam)
SF police officer to stand trial for assault over baton beating

A San Francisco police officer who prosecutors say unnecessarily beat a man… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed announced The City’s return to the red tier for COVID-19 precautions at Pier 39 on Tuesday<ins>, March 2, 2021</ins>. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
San Francisco enters red COVID tier, indoor dining to resume

Museums and gyms can reopen with capacity limits

Cole Odin Berggren, community programs director and drum and DJ instructor at Blue Bear School of Music in The City, holds a JackTrip device, which he says has greatly improved students’ experience of making music online. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
COVID-era musicians beginning to make connections

Software eliminates pesky delay plaguing most systems

Under the new plan, Twin Peaks Boulevard would be reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists until Christmas Tree Point.	(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board approves new plan for Twin Peaks Boulevard

Cuts vehicle-free space by half. Neighbors say crime, vandalism will still abound

Most Read