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Berkeley and Fresno Landlords Nominated to Landlord Hall of Shame

by Tenants Together
November 29th, 2010

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Today, Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for tenants’ rights, nominated two more landlords to its Landlord Hall of Shame: Berkeley-based Reza Valiyee of Berkeley and Fresno-based JD Home Rentals owned and operated by John and David Hovannisian.

Tenants Together is a statewide organization for renters’ rights.  Its Landlord Hall of Shame is designed to expose the worst landlords in California and to make sure that their actions do not go unnoticed.

According to Program Coordinator Gabe Treves, “these landlords are notorious for renting homes in substandard conditions to vulnerable populations including students, immigrants, and low-income residents.  Through the Landlord Hall of Shame, we hope to shine a public spotlight on these bad actors and deter future bad behavior.”

Reza Valiyee is one of Berkeley’s largest landlords.  Presently, he owns 23 properties in the City of Berkeley- the majority of these are large, multi-unit apartment buildings and boarding houses rented to students.  Valiyee, who has been cited numerous times for failing to meet housing code, has been a significant drain on the city’s resources for many years.  According to City Attorney Zachary Cowan, Valiyee has a “long history of stalling on city-mandated repair work.”  In 2002, the city placed two of Valiyee’s properties, including a student boarding house, into receivership after they were declared a public nuisance because he had installed illegal bedrooms.  Valiyee has even spent time in jail for failing to meet court cleanup orders.

JD Home Rentals, owned and operated by father-son pair John and David Hovannisian, rents hundreds of units to low-income residents throughout Fresno.  The Hovannisians are notorious for renting apartments in substandard conditions that jeopardize the health of their tenants.  The Better Business Bureau of Central California has given JD Home Rentals an ‘F’ score for receiving and failing to respond to a high number of complaints.  Recently, Reverend Sharon Stanley of the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM) showed local reporters a bag full of roaches collected from one apartment in an infested apartment complex.

All California tenants can suggest nominees for the Landlord Hall of Shame by going to http://hallofshame.tenantstogether.org. Based on the information submitted and its own research, Tenants Together announces Official Nominees throughout the year.  Annually, members of Tenants Together vote to determine which of the Official Nominees will be inducted into the Hall of Shame.

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