In San Francisco landlords can terminate a tenant’s tenancy through an owner move-in eviction. Owner move in evictions are often used by landlords as a means for forcing long-term tenants to move out.
Tenants in San Francisco who live in units protected by the Rent Ordinance can only be evicted for one of “16 Just Causes for eviction” . Owner Move-In evictions (or “OMIs”) are one of these grounds.
What if My Landlord Never Moves In?
If you move out pursuant to an owner move-in eviction and your landlord fails to follow the rules you may have grounds to sue for substantial financial damages. Just because a landlord sends an owner move-in eviction notice claiming they are going to move in does not mean they actually will.
If you suspect your landlord has not moved in, contact us to discuss your options.
What Makes Someone a Qualified “Owner”?
To initiate an owner move-in eviction, a qualified owner must have a certain ownership stake in the property. Owners of record on or before February 21, 1991 must have at least a 10% interest in the building. Owners who obtained an ownership interest after February 21, 1991 must hold at least a 25% interest in the building.
What Requirements Does My Landlord Have to Meet?
An owner move-in eviction must be done in good faith, with honest intent and without ulterior motive. In other words, the dominant motive for asking the tenant to leave must be so that the owner, or owner’s relative (where applicable) , can move in.
Requirements and eligibility for an owner move-in eviction can be highly complicated and we recommend discussing any eviction notice you receive with a tenant attorney or housing rights advocate.
- An owner must use the affected unit as his or her principal place of residence for 36 continuous months.
- Landlord Must be a Person: The landlord or relative moving in must be a “natural person” and cannot be a corporation/partnership/other business entity.
- Single Unit Limit: Landlords are prohibited from conducting an OMI if a prior OMI has occurred at the subject premises post 1998. Following a post-11/98 owner-occupancy, the affected unit is the only unit that can be targeted for an owner-occupancy eviction.
- One Eviction Limit: A landlord can only do one OMI eviction for a given property. Owners cannot use owner-occupancy as the Just Cause for two or more evictions in the same building unless the second is for use of an owner’s parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, or sibling, brother/sister. or a building permit has been issued to legally combine the units to be occupied as a single unit.
- Alternative Dwelling: None of the evicting owners can own a “comparable” vacant dwelling anywhere. If a “comparable” dwelling becomes available prior to the evicted tenant vacating, the tenant does not have to move. If any of the evicting owners own a “non-comparable” vacant dwelling, that dwelling must be offered to the evicted tenant, but it can be offerred at market rent.
- Recording Requirements: the landlord must record an OMI with the Rent Board and with the County Records designating the unit that has been the subject of the eviction and the resulting restrictions. financing.
- Re-Rental of Units Restricted: As of November 9, 2015 (Part of Evictions 2.0 Legislation) a landlord cannot re-rent the unit at a rent greater than that which evicted tenant was paying at the time of move out for five years after the eviction, unless there were allowable rent increases such as annual rent increases. If a landlord chooses to re-rent the unit within three years of the eviction, the evicted tenant is entitled to a right of first refusal to move back into the unit. Note that if a landlord does not remain the unit for three years and re-rents it to a new tenant for higher rent they could be subject to a lawsuit from the evicted tenant for wrongful eviction, fraud, and violation of the Rent Ordinance, among other potential claims.
Rights for Tenants in Owner Move-In Evictions
Tenants who have resided in the affected unit for twelve months or more are entitled to a 60-day written eviction notice, while tenants who have resided in said unit for less than twelve months are entitled to a 30-day eviction notice.
Statutory Relocation Payments
Tenants who have resided in an affected unit for one year or more are entitled to relocation expenses. The amount increases each year and is available on the SF Rent Board website here.
Each elderly (60 yrs or older) or disabled tenant or household with minor children is eligible for additional funds.
In certain circumstances a tenant may be exempt from an Owner Move in Eviction. Protected tenants are those 60 or over, or disabled, who have occupied for 10 years, and those catastrophically ill who have occupied the unit for 5 years. **Except, where all units are occupied by protected tenants, or the subject property is a single family home.