Like any narrow corner of the internet, the world of landlord-tenant law is filled with its own language, terms and a variety of explanations, many, sadly, filled with inaccuracies.
In this article we attempt to explain the difference between an eviction lawsuit (or "unlawful detainer") and a wrongful eviction lawsuit. While both of these concepts relate to an attempt to terminate a tenant's tenancy, they refer to very different things.
In order to evict a tenant from their home in San Francisco a landlord has to first provide a written notice that states a "just cause" for eviction that is allowed under the Rent Ordinance. If the tenant fails to move out in response to the notice then the landlord has to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit to recover possession. A tenant has a right to defend against this and to try and settle or go to trial to keep their home. With the passage of Prop F a few years ago, San Francisco tenants now have a right to free representation in defending eviction lawsuits. That is why we encourage tenants to seek representation via one of the many non profit organizations in the city that offer assistance, such as the Eviction Defense Collaborative.
Generally speaking, an unlawful detainer refers to a dispute between a tenant and their landlord. Usually, this dispute relates to a claim that a tenant has violated the terms of their lease agreement or the law. There are also evictions where a tenant is not being accused of doing anything wrong, known as a "no fault" eviction. These include Owner Move-In evictions, Ellis Act evictions, temporary relocation evictions, and Demolition. If a tenant fails to vacate in response to a notice, a landlord is obligated to file a lawsuit in order to pursue getting the unit back.
Unlike an unlawful detainer lawsuit, a wrongful eviction lawsuit involves a tenant who has been illegally forced to move out of their home by their landlord.
This happens in many situations, including when a landlord:
When a tenant has been wrongfully evicted from their home by a landlord, they can file a wrongful eviction lawsuit against their landlord to obtain actual damages.
Even if a landlord may insist that the tenant was causing problems, they have an obligation to follow the law and to maintain their building. A landlord cannot threaten a tenant's health or safety, nor can they perform any action to force the tenant to move out of their home. Our office regularly brings wrongful eviction lawsuits against predatory landlords in an effort to hold them accountable and obtain compensation for our clients. To find out more about how wrongful eviction lawsuits work and whether you have a case, contact us today.
Being wrongfully evicted is a stressful, deeply emotional situation that can have severe financial consequences for displaced tenants. If you believe you or someone you know has been wrongfully evicted, contact our team of leading San Francisco wrongful eviction attorneys about your options.
At Wolford Wayne we can provide a free case analysis to help you determine your options, develop a game plan for pursuing your claims, and work with you in an effort to get the compensation you deserve and discourage bad acting landlords from taking the same actions against other tenants.
We are passionate about helping victims of wrongful eviction get justice while rebuilding their lives. We handle these cases exclusively on contingency - meaning we cover the costs of your case upfront and only get paid if you do. So give us a call today to discuss your wrongful eviction lawsuit.
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.