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- Tenant Issues
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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 seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.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 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 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
In California, before a landlord can recover possession of your unit and/or file a lawsuit they must first provide you with a written notice. Where in California you live makes all the difference in terms of your rights in an eviction, so be sure to consult with an attorney about what rights and defenses you may have to an eviction.
There are two basic types of eviction notices: notices that provide an opportunity to cure and those that do not. Some just causes for eviction do not require landlords to provide the opportunity to “cure” the violation.
years of experience in representing tenants.
While most lawsuits can take upwards of a year to resolve, the life of an eviction lawsuit is measured in weeks. If you have been served with an unlawful detainer, you must act quickly. Tenants generally only have five calendar days to file a response with the court after being served with the lawsuit. Failure to file a response within five days could result in a default judgment, which in turn could mean losing your right to fight the lawsuit. Representation by an experienced tenant’s rights attorney can be a tremendous asset in helping you stay in your home or secure a settlement.
San Francisco is one of the few cities in the nation with strong eviction protections for tenants. For those units covered under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, a landlord can only evict a tenant for one of sixteen “just causes” for eviction. If a landlord cannot assert a right to evict for one of these grounds they cannot legally evict you. If you have been evicted without just cause and believe that your unit is/was covered by the just cause provisions of the Rent Ordinance you may have a basis for a wrongful eviction claim. Scroll down for a complete list of San Francisco’s Just Causes.
It’s merely the first step in a process. Often, tenants successfully defend their eviction lawsuits and are able to stay in their homes. In other cases, tenants may be able to negotiate a monetary settlement in exchange for relinquishing their tenancies. To figure out what’s best for your situation, talk to someone who knows the process.
If you receive a notice that doesn’t have this language on it, that doesn’t specify one of these time frames for vacating, or isn’t a proper written notice served on you and/or posted at your residence, you have not received legal notice of eviction and you can continue your tenancy.
If you receive a 3-Day Notice to Cure or Quit, you have two options: 1. pay the rent you owe, or “cure” the violation of the rental agreement listed on the Notice, or 2. do nothing, and be aware that after three days elapse, your landlord may serve you with an “unlawful detainer” (eviction) lawsuit.
Thirty or Sixty Day Notices Terminating Tenancy most often apply to “no-fault” evictions — for example, in cases of owner move-in evictions or the Ellis Act. Upon receiving this type of notice, tenants should first determine whether they are covered by an eviction protection or “just cause” law (see below). If so, the eviction notice must list a valid reason for eviction. Additionally, the notice may need to be accompanied by 50% of the applicable relocation payments, which are set by statute.
After the time specified on the notice has elapsed, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer action against you in court, then serve you with the summons and complaint. Once you are served, you have only five calendar days — including weekends and holidays — to file a response with the court.
If the tenant fails to file a response within five days, the landlord may request a default judgment against the tenant. If the court grants the default, the sheriff may arrive at the property to enforce the eviction within two to three weeks in San Francisco. (In other jurisdictions, the sheriff’s eviction may occur just five days after the court’s judgment.) Also in San Francisco, but not necessarily in other jurisdictions, the court will often grant a one-week stay of eviction in order to give the tenant time to find alternate housing.
In almost all cases, tenants should file a response immediately, as this will at least buy them more time. Once tenants file a response, the lawsuit will be set in motion: a trial date will be set, the landlord or their attorneys may send you discovery requests (which also need to be answered within a limited time period), and either side may enter motions or demurrers with the court.
Eviction lawsuits proceed on an extremely compressed timetable. Unfortunately, self-represented parties are prone to missteps that may prove costly, and the landlord’s attorneys may capitalize on that. An experienced tenants’ attorney can guide tenants through the process and be a powerful ally in settling the lawsuit.
Most tenancies in San Francisco are governed by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance (Chapter 37 of the Administrative Code). Tenants living in homes protected by the Rent Ordinance are entitled to just cause eviction protections.
Eviction protections under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance apply to:
To pursue an eviction of a tenant in a unit protected by the Rent Ordinance a landlord must have one of 16 reasons or “just causes.”
To bring an eviction a landlord has to provide written notice to the tenant. The type of notice and amount of time for the notice depends on the reason alleged for the eviction.
If a tenant fails or refuses to move out of the unit prior to the termination of the notice period a landlord may file a lawsuit for Unlawful Detainer (eviction) against a tenant and begin eviction proceedings against that tenant.
Rent control and eviction control rights vary from county to county and city to city. Oakland and Berkeley each have Ordinances similar to San Francisco. The following Bay Area cities have also recently adopted rent ordinances of their own, though the protections they provide vary widely.
For tenants living in parts of the state or in units not covered by eviction control, landlords may be able to evict tenants without just cause. However, in 2019 California passed state-wide rent control. The new law does not apply to ALL tenants in California but does extend protections to hundreds of thousands of tenants who otherwise were not protected. Read our article on State-Wide Protections for more information.