In San Francisco and other Bay Area cities that have rent ordinances one of the "just causes for landlords to evict a tenant is an owner move-in eviction. An owner or relative move-in eviction or "OMI"must be conducted in good faith and can't just be a pretext to force a tenant to move out. However, in some instances landlords do just that. If a landlord evicts a tenant via a landlord move-in eviction and never moves in they may be liable for a wrongful eviction. Our office regularly represents tenants who have been wrongfully evicted via a bogus owner move-in eviction.
Under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, a landlord can use an owner move-in eviction if they intend, in good faith, to take back possession for their own use. The landlord must then live in the unit for at least thirty-six consecutive months. A landlord can't re-rent the unit to another tenant during that time period and must live there as their primary place of residence. A violation of any of these parts of the law may subject a landlord to liability for a wrongful eviction.
Another rule is that a landlord cannot pursue an owner move-in eviction if a "comparable unit" in the building is available; or if a "comparable unit" becomes available in the building before the owner recovers the other unit. If a comparable unit becomes available before the owner recovers the unit, they must withdraw the eviction notice.
For instance, if you live in a rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment, and there is a similar two-bedroom apartment available in the building your landlord may not be able to force you out with an owner move-in eviction notice. However, factors such as the location of the unit in the building and amenities like outdoor space can be considered in determining if a unit is "comparable."
Likewise, if a landlord owns a property with similar amenities then they may not be able to justify the need to move into your rental unit. The rationale behind this rule is to prevent a landlord from forcing a tenant out unless they have a legitimate reason for doing so.
Because a landlord can't evict a tenant using an owner move-in eviction if a comparable unit is available in your building, it is important to understand the difference between "comparable" and "non-comparable" units.
There is no clear-cut answer when it comes to distinguishing between a comparable and non-comparable unit. However, sometimes it's easier to assess when the number of bedrooms or the square footage is significant. It can be more difficult when units appear to be comparable, but the landlord's specific needs diminish the similarities. For instance, an owner who wants to do a relative move-in for their elderly parent can claim an upper unit is not comparable to a lower unit because the parent has difficulty climbing stairs. The ascertainment of comparability is both subjective and objective, which makes it very difficult to deal with.
The laws governing owner move-in evictions are complex. If you think that you are a victim of wrongful eviction, make sure that you explore your options and protect your rights. Contact us today; we're ready to help.
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
Recovered on behalf of two former San Francisco tenants who were evicted via an Owner Move-In Eviction and owner failed to occupy the unit as her primary place of residence.Read More
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
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who was forced to vacate his home as a result of ongoing, disruptive construction and the owners’ refusal to provide him with alternative housing. Read More
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
Recovered for tenant who was injured when their stairway railing collapsed at the tenant’s Mission District apartment building.Read More
Recovered in action for a group of tenants forced to vacate their San Francisco apartment house due to severe habitability defects including mold and water leaks.Read More
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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.