Wrongful evictions happen far too often in San Francisco. The sad reality is that many tenants who are forced out of their homes illegally aren’t even aware that their landlord broke the law until it is too late, or they never realize it at all.
Understanding your rights before, during, and after an eviction is incredibly valuable for San Francisco renters. Here, the tenant's rights attorneys at Wolford Wayne LLP touch on some of the most important points to keep in mind regarding the eviction process.
California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019 provides many renters statewide with protection from unfair rent increases and evictions. But many cities, including San Francisco, have had similar protections in place for decades. San Francisco's Rent Ordinance provides most renters with more protections than the state law. These are a few of the key rights you should be aware of:
If your landlord forces you to move out without following the legal requirements, you may have grounds for a wrongful eviction lawsuit against them.
The eviction process in San Francisco can be complex and confusing, but it’s important to understand the process.
If your landlord wants you to leave, they must send a legal, written notice which specifies how long you have to vacate the unit. Depending on the grounds for the notice, your landlord may be required to give you an opportunity to "cure" the breach, such as with non-payment of rent. How long the notice period is will depend on which just cause your landlord is alleging. This could be as little as three days for some at-fault evictions, while for no-fault evictions the period is 60 days (OMI) or 120 days (Ellis). If, after this time period has passed, you are still occupying the unit, your landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit.
To remove a tenant after the eviction notice period has passed, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit, known as a "Complaint for Unlawful Detainer.” Note that if you get served with an eviction lawsuit it is extremely important that you respond. We recommend taking it to a non-profit housing organization such as the Eviction Defense Collaborative immediately because they may be able to offer free legal representation. If you fail to respond to the lawsuit you may lose your right to fight altogether and could end up getting evicted. Local tenant advocates groups can help you file your response (or Answer) and help identify any possible defenses you may have against eviction.
You and your landlord will then have a “Settlement Conference” where you will have an opportunity to try and resolve the dispute. If no agreement is reached, the case will go to trial, and a judge or jury will decide whether or not you can remain in the unit.
While, if you lose your case, you may be able to challenge the decision or buy yourself more time with a stay of eviction, you will likely receive a sheriff's notice posted on your door, which will give you only days to leave. Even at this point, you may be able to ask the court for more time to find a new home. Only the Sheriff can enforce the eviction, and if the landlord locks you out themselves or leaves your belongings in the street, they are likely violating the law.
Finding safe, affordable housing in San Francisco is no easy task, which can make it a serious burden to be forced out of your rental unit. At Wolford Wayne LLP, we are dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of wrongfully evicted tenants in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. If you or someone you know have been forced to leave without a proper eviction notice and/or without a just cause, we may be able to help.
Our office only represents tenants, never landlords, and we accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don't get paid unless you do. If you’ve been wrongfully evicted, contact our office to learn how we may be able to help.
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
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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.