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SoMa Tenants Sue Landlord Over Sewage in Sink, Bloody Walls

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Forty SoMa tenants have filed suit against their landlords for a litany of nightmarish complaints, including sewage bubbling up in a kitchen sink, prostitution and drug dealing in the hallways, shut-off electricity, and a homeless encampment in the back of the building. The suit, filed in the Superior Court of California last June and first reported on Ratter, also alleges less grody but equally pernicious breaches such as unlawful rent increases, tenant harassment, and a broken fire alarm. The property, a 51-unit building owned by Adib Khouri, is 1751 Market Street at the corner of Valencia. According to Ratter's report, the suit is headed to trial in August. (UPDATE: Curbed has obtained photos of the conditions inside the building, and they're a doozy.)

Here are some excerpts from the complaint, filed by Edward M. Higginbotham on behalf of current and former 1751 Market tenants:

There is rampant drug use and drug trafficking throughout the building and at least one known unit is used for the exclusive purpose of drug sales and use. There is also frequent prostitution throughout the building and at least one known unit is used for the exclusive purpose of prostitution. And yeah, things don't seem to get better inside the units.

Plaintiffs in Unit#10 ... experience on a regular, weekly basis, sewage filtering up and shooting out of their kitchen sink. Plaintiffs describe the happening and the smell as putrid. To make matters worse, evidence of a 2014 murder was still in the hallway six months later.

The entire building, including all of the common areas are filthy, including stained, mold runs rampant and there is blood on the walls and staircases. On January 6, 2014, one of the tenants was fatally stabbed inside the building, as of the filing of this complaint, defendants have yet to clean the blood that stains the wall. Plaintiff Santos6 walks past the blood of his murdered brother every time he enters and exits the building. The building, a four-story multifamily built in 1909, is bound by rent control, but some current and former tenants allege rent hikes above and beyond the increases allowed by law. Two tenants moved into unit 56 in January 2014 after signing a lease for $1,200. They allege that in the following month, Khouri raised their rent by $500. Another tenant, who at the time of the suit's filing was paying $1,750 per month in rent, said she did not have electricity in her unit.

The suit, which names Faiq I. Khouri and Diana F. Khouri as codefendants, also alleges mold infestation, a failure to provide carbon monoxide detectors in most units, and a lack of working smoke detectors in more than half the building's apartments. Also, harassment:

Defendants would harass and demand the rent despite the dilapidated conditions of the building, moreover, if rent was late in their opinions, Defendant Khouri would personally go, or send agents/employees to the place of employment of tenants to demand the rent and humiliate them in front of co-workers, supervisors and customers. Defendant Khouri admitted this practice under penalty of perjury as to Plaintiffs Cook25 and Martin25. Khouri's attorney, Ed Rodzewich, declined to comment to Rattner on the case, telling reporter Kate Conger, "My office cannot comment on ongoing litigation."

· Crystal Cook vs. Adib Khouri [Document Cloud]
· For Rent: 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, Blood-Stained Hallway, Sewage Fountain [Ratter]