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California Supreme Court spurns infamous SF landlord

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Anne Kihagi’s years-long fight with City Hall comes up short in court

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera again declared victory in his office’s battle with Anne Kihagi, the city’s most infamous landlord this.

In 2017 a state judge ruled against San Francisco landlord Anne Kihagi in a suit stemming from abuse of tenants, and imposed arecord-breaking $5.5 million in fees on her.

Judge Angela Bradstreet excoriated Kihagi and her codefendants for their “persistent pattern of bad faith harassment, retaliation, and fraud” directed at renters and noted their “complete lack of understanding of the unlawfulness of their conduct.”

Kihagi owns more than 50 rent-controlled SF apartments, purchased over several years starting in 2013 for a total of more than $24 million.

In the nearly two years since the landmark ruling against her, the city has resorted to creative ways of extracting the millions from Kihagi, including auctioning her property and telling her renters to send their rent checks to City Hall instead of her.

Kihagi appealed Bradstreet’s ruling to the California Supreme Court. But this week the state’s highest court declined to review the decision, leaving the lower court’s decision in place.

In response, Herrera noted, “This decision will allow the trial court’s full injunction to go into effect, which prohibits Ms. Kihagi from contacting tenants and requires that an independent property manager oversee these properties.”

In the past, Kihagi’s attorney argued that she was the victim of a smear campaign by disgruntled tenants. Kihagi called her renters “sociopathic” in an 2018 interview with SF Weekly.

But both the city and the state courts have persisted in their characterization of Kihagi as an abusive landlord, bullying tenants who rely on rent control to maintain a foothold in neighborhoods like Noe Valley, the Castro, and the Mission—three neighborhoods where Kihagi still owns property.