There’s A Tenant In My Apartment: Owner Move-In

Common problem, common solution. The San Francisco Rent Ordinance authorizes an owner to move into a tenant-occupied rental unit and terminate the tenancy of all occupants in possession, however the San Francisco Rent Ordinance restricts the right of an owner to do so in a number of material ways.

First, an Owner Move-In eviction (“OMI”) requires that an owner intend to occupy the unit as his or her principal place of residence for at least 36 continuous months. Second, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance generally allows only one OMI for the entire property if it is a multi-unit property, and if there was an OMI in the past, that previous OMI unit must be the OMI unit for any subsequent OMI. Likewise, if a buyer is considering purchasing a multi-unit property with the intent of performing an OMI, it would be advisable to investigate if any OMI had occurred at the property before, and if so, that the OMI unit is one the buyer is wiling to occupy. Third, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance generally prevents an owner from preforming an OMI if any tenant in the in the unit is “protected”. A protected tenant for purposes of an OMI means either: (1) the tenant is 60 years of age or older and has lived in the unit for at least 10 years; (2) the tenant is disabled and has lived in the unit for at least 10 years; or (3) the tenant is catastrophically ill and his lived in the unit for at least 5 years.

Besides the authorization of an OMI, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance also allows for certain relatives of an owner to serve as grounds for terminating a tenancy. A Relative Move-In eviction (“RMI”) shares virtually all of the same restrictions as an OMI, and is further limited by which relatives may qualify. The relatives which may serve as the basis for an RMI are limited to a landlord’s grandparents, grandchildren, parents, children, siblings, or the landlord’s spouse or the spouses of those relations. These relatives must also possess the good faith and honest intent to occupy the premises for 36 continuous months. An RMI may only be preformed by an owner in possession at the property, or simultaneously pursuing an OMI for possession of a different unit at the property. One significant advantage of performing an RMI is that it may enable an owner to evict a protected tenant when doing so would otherwise be precluded. For example, certain OMI protected tenant restrictions would be inapplicable to the rules under certain RMI situations.

The rules and regulations regarding Owner Move-In and Relative Move-In evictions are complex and always subject to challenge by both tenants and owners. If you are curious about learning more about evicting tenants in a property you own or are looking to purchase, or want to learn more about performing an eviction for a relative so they can live in the same building as you, it is advised that you contact an experienced San Francisco Real Estate attorney with experience in handling owner move-in and relative move-in evictions in San Francisco.

San Francisco Owner Move-In Eviction and Relative Move-In Eviction information provided by San Francisco Real Estate attorney Mark Chernev.

Mark B. Chernev, Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC, 601 Montgomery Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94111 : 415 – 956 – 8100