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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.