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Owner Move-In Eviction

         

 

          Bogaards Davis LLP represents both Tenants and Landlords in cases dealing with a number of eviction issues, including cases where we have fought for tenants’ rights in the face of bad faith owner move-in evictions. The San Francisco Rent Ordinance requires that Owner Move-In Evictions be in good faith. We herein provide a brief overview of the requirements a Landlord in San Francisco must meet for an Owner Move-In Eviction (OMI) to be in good faith.

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What does it mean for an Owner Move-In Eviction to be in “Good Faith?”

            The Rent Ordinance provides that for an Owner Move-In (OMI) Eviction to be in “good faith,” the Landlord must be seeking to recover possession of the unit for the legitimate reason of moving in. (See San Francisco Administrative Code 37.9(a)(8)) The eviction cannot be based on any other motives and must be done with honest intent to retake possession of the property so that they themselves, or a close relative (with restrictions), can move into and live in the Unit. 

            To demonstrate that the OMI Eviction is in good faith, a Landlord must move into the Unit within 3 months of the Notice of Eviction, and they must occupy the Unit as their principal residence for 3 years (36 continuous months). An owner’s failure to move in within those first 3 months is “rebuttably presumed” to be evidence of bad faith.

            A close relative of the Landlord may also move in to the Unit, but only if the Landlord already lives in the building, or if the Landlord is also moving into the building at the same time as the relative.

            For an OMI Eviction to be in good faith, there cannot be a comparable unit in the building that is vacant or that will become vacant during the notice period. If this occurs, the notice must be rescinded. Any non-comparable vacant unit owned by the Landlord in San Francisco must be offered to the Tenant. Any evidence that the Landlord attempted to time service of the Notice, or of the filing of an action to recover possession, so as to avoid moving into a comparable unit or to avoid offering the Tenant a replacement unit is also evidence of bad faith.

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What are the other requirements of a Good-Faith Owner Move-In Eviction?

            Assuming the Landlord has acted in good faith in implementing an OMI Eviction, they must also satisfy the other requirements provided for by the Rent Ordinance.

Notice: An OMI Eviction Notice must provide 60 days except if the Tenant has lived in the Unit less than a year, in which case only a 30-day notice is required. The Notice must also be filed with the Rent Board within 10 days of service on the Tenant.

Disclosure: The notice must also include a disclosure of the identity and percentage of ownership of all persons holding a partial percentage in the property and the dates the percentage of ownership were recorded. For the OMI eviction to be proper, the Landlord must own 25% of the property if their ownership was recorded after February 21, 1991. If the ownership was recorded prior to that date, then the Landlord need only own 10%.

The disclosure must also include the names of the owners seeking to take possession, and/or their relationship to the owner if a relative, and a description of their current residence, as well as a description of all residential properties owned by the Landlord and/or relative seeking to take possession.

            Relocation Expenses: A Landlord must pay each Tenant in the Unit a relocation payment, in the amount provided for in Ordinance Section 37.9C (generally, $4,500 per occupant). “Tenant” includes children, as well as any subtenants. One half of the relocation payment must be paid at the time the Notice of Eviction is served. The other half of the payment must be paid upon Tenant’s vacancy of the Unit.

Are there any limitations to a Good Faith Owner Move-In Eviction?

            There may be protection from a Good Faith OMI Eviction if the Tenant falls within a protected status. For example, the Tenant is either 60 years or older and/or qualifies for disability (SSI), and have had tenancy for 10 or more years, or is terminally ill and have had tenancy for 5 or more years. Generally, if the Tenant falls within either of those categories, the Tenant cannot be evicted for OMI, unless it is the only unit owned by the Landlord in the building, or all the rental units owned by the Landlord in the same building where the Landlord resides are occupied by similarly situated Tenants, and the Landlord’s qualified relative is 60 years or older.

            Finally, if the Landlord attempts to re-rent the unit within the first three years after notice to vacate was served on the Tenant, the unit must be re-offered to the displaced Tenant and can only be re-rented at the rent controlled amount.

Legal Counsel Can Protect Your Rights

            If you are a Tenant facing an Owner Move-In Eviction that you feel is being done in bad faith, or if you are a Landlord needing assistance with effectuating a proper Owner Move-In Eviction, please contact Bogaards Davis for a free initial consultation.