Despite what you may think about your landlord, he or she probably has nothing on James Blanding of Bayview Property Managers who was just ordered to pay a record $800,000 civil fine for 467 building code violations racked up since 2001 at over half the properties his company manages. While we imagine there were some terrible landlords back in the Barbary Coast days, no other landlord in the history of modern San Francisco has ever been ordered to pay a fine that devastating.
Unsurprisingly, many of BPM's 137 crumbling housing units were located in the Bayview and other low-income neighborhoods, making it safe to call Blanding a bonafide slumlord. For his traumatized tenants, coming home to burst pipes, overflowing toilets and flooded apartments sounds like a regular occurrence. One woman, paying $952 for a one-bedroom apartment that she shared with her two kids, put up with the mold that gave her daughter asthma until she was forced to move in with relatives after a river of raw sewage streaming past her building made the place uninhabitable. According to the Department of Building Inspection's Chief Housing Director, in another one of Blanding's buildings, the ceiling collapsed on a child's bedroom.
For her part, Bayview Supervisor Malia Cohen decried Blanding's operation, which apparently had a knack for dodging and putting off tenants' complaints. In a statement yesterday, Cohen explained Bayview Property Managers had put dozens of families, children and seniors in "deplorable living conditions for decades" and would use "sophisticated efforts to contest and evade the law" anytime they were slapped with a violation.
Although Blanding has yet to comment on the story which is literally everywhere in the news this morning, Blanding's attorney told the Chronicle that his client was just "a very fine man" who couldn't keep up with his ratbox real estate empire. In the meantime, Bayview Property Managers has brought on a consulting firm to help clean up their act.