Owner & Relative Move-Ins – San Francisco
What is an Owner Move-in or Relative Move-in Eviction in San Francisco?
In the City of San Francisco, tenants living in units that are governed by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance cannot be evicted unless the landlord has just cause to do so. One just cause under the Ordinance is if an owner seeks to recover possession of the rental unit so that the owner or a relative may move into the unit.
In order for an owner or relative move-in to be valid, the owner must have at least 25% ownership interest in the building if the landlord acquired ownership of the building after February 21, 1991 or 10% ownership interest if the landlord acquired ownership before February 21, 1991.
Owners may evict tenants so that their child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner may move into the unit. However, relative move-in evictions require that the owner already reside in the building or be moving into the building at the same time as the relative.
Owner and relative move-in evictions are governed by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 37.9(a)(8).
Can my landlord evict me if the landlord or his/her relative wants to move into my unit?
Maybe. Some tenants have “protected status,” which means that an owner or relative move-in eviction may be prohibited. An eviction may be prohibited if (1) the tenant is over 60 years of age and has ten years or more of tenancy; (2) the tenant is disabled (generally those who meet the standard for disability under Supplemental Security Income [SSI] or California State Supplemental Program (SSP), and has ten or more years of tenancy; or (3) the tenant is catastrophically ill (suffering from a life threatening illness as certified by his or her primary care physician) and has five or more years of tenancy.
Tenants with “protected status” are still subject to an owner or relative move-in eviction if (1) there is only one rental unit owned by the landlord in the building; or (2) every unit in the building besides the unit occupied by the landlord is occupied by tenants who have protected status and the landlord is evicting for a relative who is age 60 or older.
A landlord who wants to move into a unit or wants his or her relative to move into a unit may ask a tenant for information as to whether they fall into a protected category. If a tenant falls into a protected category, then the tenant must provide that information within 30 days of the request in order to maintain protection under the Ordinance.
Can my landlord perform an owner or relative move-in eviction during the school year?
Tenants who have children attending school may have a defense to an owner move-in eviction if the landlord tries to evict the tenant during the school year. Tenants have a defense to an owner or relative move-in eviction if (1) they have a legal or family relationship with a child under the age of 18 who is residing in the unit; (2) the tenant has resided in the unit for a year or more; and (3) the effective date of the termination of tenancy falls within the school year. The term “school year” means the first day of instruction for the Fall Semester through the last day of instruction for the Spring Semester, as posted on the San Francisco Unified School District website for each year.
This defense, however, does not apply if the landlord only owns one unit in the building or the landlord will move into the unit with a minor child.
Am I entitled to relocation benefits if my landlord performs an owner or relative move-in eviction?
Yes. As of March 1, 2015, the landlord must pay each occupant of the unit who has lived in the unit for 12 months or more a total of $5,551.00 and up to $16,653.00 per household. If the tenant is over the age of 60 or disabled or resides with a minor child, they are entitled to an additional $3,701.00. The landlord must pay half of the total amount at the time of service of the eviction notice and half when the tenant has vacated the unit.
The Rent Board changes the amount of relocation payments every year, and you can find an updated payment schedule here.
How much notice does my landlord have to give me before he can evict me for an owner or relative move-in?
A landlord must serve a tenant with a sixty-day eviction notice for tenancies of at least a year, or a thirty-day notice if the tenancy is less than a year. The notice must contain very specific language required by law including the following:
• The names, percentage of ownership, and the dates the ownership was recorded in the county records for each owner of the subject property;
• The name of the landlord or relative who wants to move into the unit and information regarding the landlord or relative’s current residence;
• A description of all property owned by the landlord and any relative for whom the landlord is evicting;
• The rent the tenant is paying for the unit and a statement of the tenant’s right to re-rent the unit at the same rent for a period of three years following service of the Notice to Quit if the landlord puts the property up for rent again during that time;
• The right to relocation benefits; and
• A copy of Section 37.9B of the San Francisco Administrative Code.
Does the landlord have to offer me another unit if he tries to perform an owner or relative move-in eviction?
If the landlord owns a comparable property that is vacant or becomes vacant prior to the tenant moving out, the landlord must withdraw the eviction notice. If a non-comparable unit owned by the landlord is available, the landlord must offer it to the tenant to rent. However, the landlord can charge market rate rent for the non-comparable unit, because it is considered a new tenancy.
What happens if my landlord or his relative does not move in to my unit after I vacate?
A landlord or his relative must move into the unit within three months after the tenant vacates and must reside in the unit as his or her principal place of residence for three years. If, during those three years after the eviction, the landlord decides to re-rent the unit, the evicted tenant must be given the opportunity to re-rent the unit at the same rent he or she was paying when evicted, plus any increases that would have been allowed by the Rent Ordinance. If the landlord rents the unit to someone else within three years, the rent cannot be more than the rent the evicted tenant was paying, plus allowable increased.
If the owner or relative does not move into the unit within three months or does not occupy the unit for three years, it is evidence that the owner may have evicted a tenant in bad faith, and depending on the circumstances, the tenant may have a claim for wrongful eviction.