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San Francisco Tenant Buyout Lawyers

San Francisco Tenant Buyout Lawyers

San Francisco Tenant Buyout Lawyers

When rental properties change hands, new owners must honor existing tenancy contracts. This includes the protections associated with rent-controlled units. However, nothing stops the landlord and tenant from agreeing to end the lease and release the property. Most San Francisco landlords accomplish this by offering to buy out the tenant, meaning paying the tenant to end the lease contract and move out. In some cases, landlords offer tenants buyouts instead of filing eviction proceedings to coerce rent-controlled leaseholders to leave. S.F. tenants in rent-controlled units should not enter buyout negotiations without experienced San Francisco tenant buyout lawyers like those at Wolford Wayne LLP.

San Francisco Tenant Buyout Regulations

S.F. Ordinance 37.9E governs tenant buyouts and defines buyout agreements as any contract whereby the landlord offers money or other consideration – such as an alternate unit – if the tenant vacates the current rent-controlled unit. Specific regulations govern both buyout agreements and buyout negotiations, which must commence at least 30 days before the parties execute finalized buyout contracts.

Before the landlord can begin buyout negotiations in San Francisco, he must provide each tenant residing in the unit a written disclosure form (provided by the S.F. Rent Board) that includes the following information:

  • Notification that tenants have the right to consult with a housing rights lawyer before and during negotiations
  • A list of tenants rights and related non-profit housing organizations and their contact information
  • The names and contact information of individuals conducting the buyout negotiations on behalf of companies and with authority to negotiate terms
  • Notification that tenants may change their minds about the buyout contract up to 45 days after executing the agreement
  • A statement that the tenant has the right to refuse to enter into a buyout agreement or buyout negotiations
  • Certain information about the tenant’s rights and the landlord’s legal responsibilities under the San Francisco housing code

Additionally, landlords must notify the S.F. Rent Board in writing before commencing buyout negotiations with rent-controlled tenants. All finalized agreements must be in writing and executed no sooner than 30 days following commencement of buyout negotiations. The final contract must also include various tenants’ rights statements, including reinforcing the tenant’s rights to rescind the agreement, consult with a San Francisco tenant buyout lawyer, and seek help from housing non-profits.

Penalties for Violating S.F. Buyout Negotiation and Agreement Regulations

With the skyrocketing rental prices in San Francisco, tenants in rent-controlled units face increasing pressure to vacate units and accept buyout agreements. Landlords frequently intimidate tenants into accepting buyouts without considering the tenant’s inability to afford new housing. As such, failure to abide by the above stringent negotiation, notification, and contractual regulations give tenants the right to void unauthorized buyout agreements or file civil claims for damages (§ 37.9E(k)) if they vacated the unit accordingly.

Successful claimants may recover their damages, including moving costs or rent differentials, and all reasonable attorneys fees associated with bringing the civil claims. This means aggrieved tenants pressured out of rent-controlled units in violation of the S.F. housing code might retain the assistance of our dedicated tenant buyout lawyers without any cost.

Speak with the experienced San Francisco buyout negotiation and agreement attorneys at Wolford Wayne LLP as soon as landlords open buyout negotiations by calling (415) 649-6203 or connecting with us online.

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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 the Bay Area.

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