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What is a Just Cause Eviction in San Francisco?

What is a Just Cause Eviction in San Francisco?

What is a Just Cause Eviction in San Francisco?


What is a Just Cause Eviction in San Francisco?

There are detailed procedures a landlord must follow when evicting a tenant, even if the eviction is necessary or justified. Understanding what is considered a just cause eviction can help you determine if your rights have been violated and whether or not you may have valid grounds for a wrongful eviction lawsuit. San Francisco evictions are not automatically unlawful. However, even during lawful evictions, landlords are required to use approved eviction protocols and may not violate their tenants’ privacy, take personal property, or discriminate against protected persons.

In addition, many San Francisco landlords have falsely claimed to have just cause for eviction – even going so far as to lie about tenant conduct – to repossess valuable Bay Area properties. If you’ve been evicted without just cause or proper notice, discuss your rights with the dedicated San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyers at Wolford Wayne LLP by calling (415) 649-6203 or contacting us online.

Examples of San Francisco Just Cause Evictions

Landlords may pursue two types of evictions to terminate a rent ordinance-protected tenant’s tenancy: (1) just cause no-fault evictions and (2) just cause at-fault evictions. California suspended certain no-fault and non-payment of rent evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, landlords may still evict tenants for other lawful reasons.

Just Cause generally means unlawful tenant conduct or uncontrollable circumstances. Cal. Civ. Code § 1946.2 and S.F. Ordnance § 37.9A both dictate what qualifies as a just cause eviction in the Bay Area:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Habitual late payment of rent
  • Refusing lawful landlord entry
  • Substantial destruction of the property and waste
  • Criminal activity within the unit, like drug cultivation
  • Criminal activity on the premises, such as harassing co-tenants
  • Material breach of lease terms
  • Unlawful sublets or assignments
  • Using the property for unlawful purposes, like running a commercial catering business from a residential unit
  • Creating unsafe or unsanitary conditions
  • Refusal to vacate the premises after the lease term expires

Additionally, landlords can trigger for-cause evictions for health and safety reasons. This includes lead paint removal or demolition of condemned properties. They might also request that tenants vacate the unit to allow a landlord’s relative to move in. In most no-fault cases, the landlord must pay the tenant certain relocation fees. Evictions granted due to tenant conduct, including failure to pay rent, do not require landlords to pay these fees.

Fighting Unlawful Evictions in California

Because landlords cannot generally evict San Francisco tenants without just cause, they often superficially justify the eviction without supporting evidence. For example, some landlords actually refuse to cash rent checks or acknowledge receipt of payments to manufacture just cause. San Francisco law prohibits this conduct, but it doesn’t stop property owners from attempting to repossess the property.

Likewise, many landlords lie about upcoming building repairs or relative move-ins to evict rent-controlled tenants before re-renting the properties at higher rates. Sometimes owners have just cause to remove the tenant, like late payment of rent, but evict occupants for unlawful reasons such as racial discrimination. When this happens, experienced wrongful eviction lawyers can help tenants who’ve been evicted unlawfully to recover financial damages.

Evicted without Just Cause? Contact a San Francisco Tenants Rights Attorney

If you’re facing a just cause eviction in the Bay Area, or one you believe may be unjust, we strongly recommend speaking with a local tenants’ protection group or advocate who can assist you at no charge. But if you’ve been evicted for what you believed was a just cause, only to learn later it was not (like vacating for an owner move-in but learning the unit is being rented to a new tenant), then stronger actions may be called for, like a wrongful eviction lawsuit, and you should consider working with an experienced tenants’ rights attorney.

At Wolford Wayne LLP, our team is committed to helping unlawfully evicted renters recover damages for destroyed property, moving costs, and emotional distress. In some cases, unjust evictions might qualify tenants for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Discuss your case with our San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyers today by calling (415) 649-6203 or contacting us online.

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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.

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