What is a “Wrongful Eviction?”

Wrongful Eviction and Other Ways Landlords Treat Tenants Unfairly

When a landlord forces a tenant to move out without a “just cause” it is known as a wrongful eviction. When this happens a tenant may be able to bring a wrongful eviction lawsuit. But what does a wrongful eviction look like? We discuss three common scenarios for wrongful eviction.

OMI Eviction

To evict a tenant in most situations a landlord must have a “just cause” enumerated by the State or local rent ordinance. One such eviction option is an owner or relative-move-in eviction. This provision allows a landlord to evict a tenant on the grounds that they want to move into the unit. Owners are also allowed to use this to move certain relatives into a home, provided the landlord also lives in the building. In San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, owners must follow very specific rules to comply, including:

  • giving proper notice to the tenant;
  • paying relocation benefits as required by the local ordinance; and,
  • living in the property as their principal place of residence for a given period of time

While many landlords use this process so they can live there, we regularly see landlords abuse this. Some landlords evict tenants using an owner or relative move-in eviction and don’t move in, or re-rent to a new tenant. This is a wrongful eviction because the landlord did not have a legitimate basis for the eviction. For this reason we advise tenants who have been evicted under an owner move-in or relative move-in to stay in touch with neighbors and keep an eye on the property. Tenants who are the victim of a bogus owner-move-in eviction may be entitled to substantial damages for wrongful eviction.

Demolition / Removal

Did you get an eviction notice informing you that your landlord plans to demolish your unit? One of the 16 just causes for a Bay Area eviction, many landlords try to use this legal eviction reason in an illegal way. Difficult to get, anyone receiving a demolition eviction notice should look into whether it is actually a wrongful eviction attempt by a landlord. For a demolition eviction to be legal, landlords must obtain permits from the Building Department, among other things.

Illegal Lockouts

Another common way that a landlord tries to take an eviction into their own hands is by illegally locking out a tenant from their unit. Even if a landlord has a valid reason for evicting a tenant, changing the locks on a tenant is an illegal way of going about it. Shutting off essential services like utilities is also a common illegal lockout tactic commonly used by landlords. Tenants that are the victim of an illegal lockout have legal options for getting back into their unit and holding their landlords financially responsible for the incident.

Talk to a Bay Area Tenants Rights Lawyer about Wrongful Eviction Lawsuits

If you are being treated unfairly or you’re uncertain as to where to turn, look no further than an experienced tenants’ rights attorney. Whether it is a wrongful eviction, habitability issue or harassment, at Wolford Wayne, the attorneys are not only well-versed in this area, but they also have the passion to help you fight for your rights as a renter. Contact us today to get started on your journey.