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Who is a Protected Tenant in San Francisco?

Who is a Protected Tenant in San Francisco?

Who is a Protected Tenant in San Francisco?


Who is a Protected Tenant in San Francisco?

Compared to other places, renters in San Francisco have a lot of rights. Those that are considered “protected tenants” have even more instrumental rights when it comes to being evicted. But what exactly is a protected tenant? Read on to learn about this important status and to see if it applies to you.

Categories of Protected Tenants

Those renters that are protected tenants are divided into three main categories:

  1. Age: Tenants who are 60 years of age or older and have been living in the unit for 10 years or more are classified as protected tenants.
  2. Disability: Tenants who have a disability and have lived in the unit for 10 years or more are considered protected tenants.
  3. Chronic Illness: Tenants who are chronically ill and have been living in the unit for 5 years or more are protected tenants.

Owner Move-in Evictions (OMI)

In addition to the general provisions for protected tenants, the protected tenants' status is important in the context of owner move-in evictions (OMI). San Francisco doesn't generally allow any tenants who are considered protected tenants to be evicted under an owner move-in eviction.

However, this doesn't apply if the landlord only owns one unit in the building or where the landlord already lives in the building where a "protected tenant" resides in each unit and the landlord wants to do a relative move-in (RMI) where the relative is 60 years old or older.

Protected Tenants Status Due to School-Age Children

The owner can't conduct an OMI eviction during the school year if the unit has tenants with minor school-age residing in the unit. The protected status only applies to tenants with minor children (under 18) who are living with them. When the child turns 18 (even if they are still in school), the tenant loses their protected tenant status and can be evicted.

Protected Tenants Status for Educators

Tenants who are employed by a public, private, or parochial school in the City or County of San Francisco. However, this does not apply for the whole term of the lease; a landlord may go forward with an OMI that is due to expire in the summer.

Ellis Act Evictions

Unlike an OMI, a tenant's protected tenant status has no bearing on whether they can be evicted via the Ellis Act. The Ellis Act is a California state law which gives property owners the right to evict tenants in order to go out of the rental business. For this to be valid, the landlord/owner must evict all of the tenants in all of the units in the building and can't just target a single tenant. Because this is an unconditional right for the landlord, a protected tenant is not exempt; any tenant may be evicted if the eviction is under the Ellis Act.

However, if the landlord evicts a tenant under the Ellis Act, special conditions apply. For tenants that are 60 years old and older and disabled tenants who have lived in their unit for at least 12 months, the landlord must give them 12 months of intent to evict under the Ellis Act.

Assert Your Protected Tenants Status with an Attorney's Help

If you believe you qualify as a protected tenant, but aren't receiving your rights, then you should act in your best interests and discuss this with a Wolford Wayne tenants' rights attorney who knows what you're entitled to and can help you hold your ground against your landlord. Contact us today to find out more information.


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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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