Because most tenants in cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley have rent and eviction control, landlords have limited ways to raise rent or evict long-term tenants. Landlords looking to raise rents or sell a building inevitably will approach tenants about a potential buyout of their tenancy. A buyout is an agreement where a landlord pays a tenant in exchange for moving out of their home.
For landlords buyouts are a great way to increase the sale price of a property or their rental revenue. However, for tenants, deciding to accept a buyout can have major implications. If your landlord approaches you about a buyout, the attorneys at Wolford Wayne can help you decide if a buyout is right for you, fully explain your legal options and represent you in buyout negotiations.
When a tenancy is protected by rent and eviction controls, landlords have limited legal ways to force a tenant to move out. The laws put limits on how much a landlord can increase rent each year. This helps to protect tenants from unreasonable rent increases that could make their homes unaffordable. However, once a tenant has moved out, landlords are free to rent out that unit at whatever price they can get for it. As a result, the longer you’ve lived in your home, the more valuable your tenancy likely is. That difference in rent, along with the location of your home, your age, health, and the type of building you live in can all impact the value of a potential buyout.
Ultimately the biggest value in a buyout negotiation is your willingness to stay if a buyout cannot be reached. For that reason, we don’t typically recommend approaching your landlord about a buyout. If a landlord thinks you want to leave, they have less incentive to enter a buyout agreement.
When we represent tenants, we help our clients assess the risks and benefits to a potential negotiation or deal so that they can make the decision that is right for them.
When a landlord approaches a tenant about a buyout, it is highly likely that:
Often, we see landlords approach tenants and recommend a sit down to discuss the situation. As a general rule we do not recommend meeting with your landlord or discussing buyout terms until you’ve had a chance to talk about your options with a qualified tenant’s rights attorney. Many landlords try to approach these discussions casually in hopes of catching tenants off guard or committing you to a particular number. These landlords typically have already retained an attorney to represent them and are looking to get tenants to agree to something before they’ve had a chance to get advice from a tenant lawyer.
Many tenants, in an effort to be friendly or avoid conflict, meet with landlords and in doing so risk saying something that could hurt their negotiating power. If your landlord suggests they want to talk about buying you out or why they need you to move out – call a lawyer straight away before having any conversations.
For tenants who are already considering a change a buyout can be an opportunity to cash in on the “equity” you have built up by living in a rent-controlled home, but each case is unique. For many tenants, buyouts can leave you in a worse position, as rents in the Bay Area are among the highest in the country.
If you do want to consider a buyout, contact an attorney from Wolford Wayne LLP to discuss your options. Should you decide you want to negotiate a buyout our team will:
On rare occasion, if a landlord is unable to negotiate a buyout, they may resort to illegal tactics to force a tenant out illegally. If you are being harassed or are wrongfully evicted the team at Wolford Wayne may be able to help you take legal action against your landlord. For more information on tenant harassment click here.
Our team of experienced tenant’s rights attorneys has helped hundreds of tenants in buyout negotiations and wrongful evictions in Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Our firm is 100% dedicated to representing residential tenants. We never represent landlords, only tenants, so you never have to wonder whose side we are on. Contact the team at Wolford Wayne here or call us today to request a free consultation. We’re ready to help you.
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco couple who were forced to give up their home of over twenty years after their landlord’s dog attacked and killed their dog.Read More
Recovered on behalf of an Oakland tenant who suffered a serious injury due to her landlord’s negligent maintenance of her home.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who suffered personal injuries and was forced to vacate his home of fifteen years after dealing with many months of environmental contamination and disruptive and nuisance construction conditions.Read More
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