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SF settles with landlord who rented ‘substandard housing’ to veterans

A Bayview district landlord accused by City Attorney Dennis Herrera of banking millions of dollars by squeezing formerly homeless veterans into cramped illegal dwelling units has agreed to pay the city a $2 million fine and bring all the buildings she owns into compliance with the law.

The terms of the settlement, which was reached last week on the eve of a trial of a city lawsuit, requires husband-and-wife landlords Judy Wu and Trent Zhu to bring 12 properties up to San Francisco building, fire and planning codes.

In a statement, Herrera said that Wu and Zhu “trafficked in substandard housing that endangered their residents and neighbors alike.”

“There is a reason we have building codes,” Herrera said. “They exist to prevent dangerous situations, like an improperly installed stove exploding and starting a fire that tears through a neighborhood.”

The lawsuit against the property owners identified 12 buildings with 15 legal units that were chopped up into spaces for 49 individual tenants. The leases, which brought in about $1 million a year in rent, contained jerry-rigged natural gas and water lines. Neighbors complained of over-crowding, noise, and sidewalks and backyards that became littered with mattresses, discarded furniture, stray cats and mounds of old clothing.

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