Notorious landlord Anne Kihagi lost all of her SF properties a couple years ago, but her long-suffering tenants are still in the courts with her, and she just lost an appeal of a seven-year-old harassment case.
Longtime readers of this blog may recall the recurring story of “San Francisco’s cruelest landlord” Anne Kihagi, who at the peak of her San Francisco landlording in 2015, had about 50 properties across the city. Many of these generated horror stories alleging she terrorized rent-controlled tenants who didn’t take the buyout, in some cases cutting their utilities, accusing a 70-year-old grandmother of being a drug dealer, and pulling relative-move-in evictions with an implausible number of so-called relatives. Kihagi was jailed in 2017 for similar cases in West Hollywood, and ultimately, Mission Local reported in 2019 her remaining properties were placed in receivership, making San Francisco’s cruelest landlord no longer a San Francisco landlord.
Two months after that, Kihagi was even sued by her own attorney for non-payment of legal bills, much like she allegedly didn’t her properties’ utility bills.
Kihagi may not have properties in San Francisco anymore, but the legal shoes continue to drop. The Chronicle has the news that a $2.7 million harassment decision against her was upheld on appeal. That was an appeal of a $3.5 million harassment and wrongful eviction lawsuit from 2017, a ruling described by SFGate at the time as the “largest in a single-unit landlord-tenant case not involving personal injury claims in the nation.”
A trial court had reduced the damages from $3.5 million to $2.7 million, but Kihagi appealed anyway. The plaintiffs cross-appealed to get the full $3.5 million, but the smaller judgement is upheld.
The full 57-page ruling from a state Court of Appeal adds new details of terrorizing landlord behavior, like “big beefy security guards” utilized to keep tenants and city inspectors from the premises, locks on mailboxes being changed so tenants could not get their mail, and the choice Kihagi quote, “I’m not spending any damn money on maintenance for the building.”
The appeal ruling is actually a setback for both parties. The evicted tenants did not get their larger settlement restored. But they did get a multi-million dollar settlement restored. Though as one of those evicted tenants Dale Duncan told Mission Local in 2019, he “hasn’t seen a dime,” and collecting on that ruling may end up requiring yet more time in court.