Owner move-in evictions (OMIs) are one of the ways that a landlord has “just cause” to evict a tenant. This is a way for an owner/landlord to use their own property to be able to move into a unit themselves or to move in a close relative. An OMI must be made in good faith and not with the intention to just recover the property to rent it at a higher rate. Read on to learn how to help prove that your landlord is involved in a fraudulent owner move-in.
Although it can be difficult to prove, a way that you can help to show the landlord’s ulterior motives in an OMI, is by conducting research on your landlord and their property. Here are some of the things to look for:
- Owner’s Property History: It’s a natural starting point to find out information about all of the properties that the owner currently holds and the property that the owner has owned in the past. You can check with the Assessor Recorder’s office for information about San Francisco properties. Get information about the purchase date and price, changes in ownership, partial ownerships, co-owners’ names. Mortgage information such as the amounts, refinances, and home improvement mortgage dates should also be obtained.
- Building Permit History: Bad faith landlords often have a lot of construction done and may update units for sale. You can see what permits were pulled by looking at the Department of Building Inspection website.
- Eviction History for the Owner’s Properties: Armed with the addresses of all the owner’s properties, you can go to the San Francisco Rent Board and see all of the evictions that were filed.
- Rationale for the Chosen Unit: Why was your apartment picked as the one that the owner decided to move into? One sign of a fraudulent owner move-in is if the unit is one with the lowest rental rate. Analyze why your landlord specifically wants to live in your unit as opposed to other units. For instance, if it’s for a relative move-in, what are the needs of the relative? Sometimes a landlord will claim that they want a disabled relative to move into a lower unit because the relative has difficulty getting around.
- Lawsuits that Involve the Owner: Look up your landlord at the Superior Court to find out whether they’ve been involved in eviction or wrongful eviction lawsuits.
Principle Place of Residency
A major area of significance to the owner move-in is that the owner or relative must have just “one principle place of residency.” The definition is the “primary or permanent home.” Any determination that the unit is the owner’s principle place of residency, would include the following:
- The unit is listed as the address used for car registration, driver’s license, or for another public purpose
- The unit’s address is used for the installation of utilities
- Owner’s personal possessions are at the unit or somewhere else
- Owner takes a tax exemption for the property
- Owner’s voter registration
- Owner returns there after temporary absences, such as family emergency, vacation, hospitalization, military service
- Owner sold or placed on the market for sale their other home
Get an Attorney’s Help with a Fraudulent OMI Claim
Gathering intel is just your first step. After completing fact-finding endeavors, an established tenants’ rights attorney can help in various ways, such as assisting with tracking down former tenants to help bolster your case to try to prove that you’re a victim of a fraudulent OMI. Get started by turning to a Wolford Wayne skilled attorney who is ready to fight for you. Contact us today.