SF attorney files lawsuits against illegal home conversion

April 23, 2014 5:15:00 PM PDT
San Francisco officials hope landlords will learn a lesson from legal action they took on Wednesday.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed lawsuits against two property owners accused of illegally converting residential apartments into commercial tourist lodging, then marketing them online, on sites like Airbnb.

Herrera says the defendants violated the spirit of the Ellis Act, a state law which allows landlords to evict long-term residents if they're taking them off the rental market.

"You go through the planning department process, I know that it's not predictable, it takes some time, there's bureaucratic delays, but these individuals wanted to make a quick buck, and if you don't think you're going to get caught, the amount of money that's out there is a pretty good incentive to just go and put it on the market," said Herrera.

Herrera's lawsuit accuses landlords of unfair business practices and violations of San Francisco's planning codes.