Did you know that there are laws in San Francisco regulating tenant buyout agreements? The San Francisco Rent Board tracks buyouts as a result of a law passed on March 7, 2015. Effective April 6, 2020, San Francisco has expanded its buyout rules. In this article, we break down the new changes and give you the top four things every tenant should know about the law.
A tenant buyout is when a landlord pays a tenant to move out in exchange for money. Landlords usually are the ones to propose buyouts. Landlords pursue buyouts with tenants for many reasons. Most commonly, landlords want to buy out a tenant so 1) they can replace them with a tenant who will pay more rent, or 2) in connection with the sale of a property. Click here for more information about buyouts and our services.
The new tenant buyout law comes with several changes to the initial buyout laws set out in the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. Here are the big ones.
Previously landlords structured buyout deals to look like evictions. They filed made up eviction lawsuits (where no basis for eviction existed) as part of the terms of a buyout agreement. These lawsuits were then used as a way to enforce buyouts if a tenant failed to move out. This also allowed landlords to avoid classifying a settlement as a buyout, or filing it with the Rent Board.
The city saw this as a loophole that was being exploited. Buyouts were not getting filed with the Rent Board. Data about how much people were getting in buyouts and where was not getting recorded at the Rent Board. The goal of the new law is to get rid of this loophole. As a result Tenants and the city will have more insight on buyouts, including the number of buyouts and amount of money.
Under the old law there was no waiting period for entering a buyout. The new law requires the parties to have a cooling off period before entering a deal. The new rule is designed to relieve some of the pressure to enter a deal.
Under the new law tenants can file a buyout agreement with the Rent Board. Before this was something only landlords could do. This change is intended to ensure that information about buyouts actually gets to the Rent Board. The change allows for a far more accurate representation of buyouts filed in San Francisco so that tenants can make an educated decision on whether or not to move forward with an agreement.
Under the 2015 law tenants have up to forty-five days to back out of a buyout agreement. The law required that this information was included in any written buyout agreement. The new law further reinforces the rule. Landlords are required to provide the address of the unit and the assessor's parcel number of the building where the unit is located, among other items. Tenants have 45 days after the buyout agreement has been finalized to cancel it if they wish to do so. This allows the tenant more time to assess the agreement and to prevent being forced into bad deals.
Buyouts are tricky, and involve technical knowledge and expertise to do well. If you’ve been offered a buyout from your landlord it’s important that you speak to an attorney to weigh all of your options. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.
Recovered on behalf of a group of 30 tenants living in an SRO in San Francisco who were living with horrendous conditions in their rent controlled apartments, including rodents, bedbugs, mold, water leaks and harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three families living in a building in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood who were forced to live with substandard conditions for years as a result of their landlord’s negligence, including issues with lack of heat, lack of hot water and cockroach/rat infestations.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a couple living in a rent-controlled home in the outer Sunset neighborhood. Our clients were forced to vacate after the landlord served them with an Owner Move-In Eviction Notice. After the landlords failed to move into the property, our clients filed suit for wrongful eviction.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant in Russian Hill. Tenant was forced to vacate her illegal apartment in retaliation for reporting unlawful rent increases to the San Francisco Rent Board.Read More
Recovered for a single long-term tenant in San Francisco. Our client was forced to move out of his apartment as a result of extreme landlord harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three long-term tenants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood who were constructively evicted due to noise and nuisance conditions created by their downstairs neighbors, which the owner refused to address.Read More
Recovered on behalf of elderly, disabled tenant who was forced to move out of her rent-controlled San Francisco apartment of 50 years after landlord/owner failed to resolve numerous building code violations that remained outstanding for over a decade.Read More
Recovered on behalf of seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.Read More
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Recovered on behalf of an elderly long-term tenant who was forced to vacate her long San Francisco apartment as a result of her landlord’s refusal to address longstanding defective conditions, including lack of heat, mold, rodent infestations, and defective plumbing. Read More
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Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco family that was constructively evicted from their home in the Richmond District as a result of unlawful rent increases, defective conditions and tenant harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a tenant living in an illegal “in-law” unit. In this case, a new owner purchased the building and then demolished our client’s unit without permits while she was displaced for seismic retrofitting.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two long term San Francisco tenants who were fraudulently evicted from their home of over twenty years under the pretext of an owner move-in eviction.Read More
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