Five Take Aways From the New San Francisco Owner Move-In Laws 

In 2017 the Board of supervisors tightened up the owner move-in eviction laws for landlords Some of these changes came into effect in August 2017, while others did not take effect until January. Below is a brief rundown of the changes to owner move-in laws that you need to know about.

1. Tenants Have Longer to Sue Bad Landlords

The amendment extends the statute of limitations for lawsuits from one year to five years. Until the new law came into effect evicted tenants had only one year to bring a lawsuit against a landlord who failed to move in. The new change gives displaced tenants five years to bring a lawsuit. This reduces pressure on tenants to watch their former homes . It also also discourages landlords from filing false owner move-in notices and then never moving in.

2. Landlords can’t charge a new tenant higher rent

Before the new law landlords had incentive to evict tenants using an OMI because they could raise the rent on new tenants. The new law should discourage landlords from taking this approach. If a landlord re-rents the unit they can’t charge more rent than what the last tenant was paying for five years.

3.  Landlords have to swear under penalty of perjury that they intend to live in the premises

This one is pretty self explanatory. Landlords have to make a written declaration to the Rent Board stating their intention to live at the unit. The new version of the ordinance ups the ante on landlords to honor their word.

4.  Institutes a Reporting Requirement for Landlords 

Landlords now have an obligation to submit information to the Rent Board after the initial filing of an owner move-in eviction notice. Landlords have to submit a “statement of occupancy” every 90 days after serving an OMI notice. They have to continue to submit a notice until they move in, and then file one once a year for five years after recovering possession.

5. Extends Landlord’s Obligation to Offer Unit Back to Displaced Tenant from 3 years to 5 years

Landlords are only required to live in a unit pursuant to an owner move-in eviction notice for 36 consecutive months. Before, a landlord could rent the unit out to a new tenant. Owners now have to offer a displaced tenant the option to move back in if they don’t stay in the unit for five years. For the full text of the changes check out the SF Rent Board: https://sfrb.org/sites/default/files/OMI%20Amendments%208.27.17.pdf
 
For an evaluation of how these laws effect your situation contact our office or another tenant’s rights organization.