For rent-controlled units, the landlord must have honest intent, without ulterior motive (e.g., a motive of raising the rent) to evict the tenant with “just cause.” Below are the just causes summarized; for the legal wording get the rent control ordinance and see §37.9(a).
Relocation payments for household evicted for less than 20 days is limited to $320/day (March 2016 to February 2017, adjusted for inflation) or a comparable dwelling, and moving expenses. Otherwise tenants who are evicted for the “no-fault” causes capital improvements, demolition, owner move-in, or substantial rehabilitation have a right to a relocation payment as determined by the Rent Ordinance. Other eviction causes have relocation payments as noted below.
The just causes for eviction are:
- Nonpayment of rent, habitual late payment, or frequent bounced checks.
- Breach (violation) of a term of the rental agreement that has not been corrected after written notice from the landlord.
- Nuisance or substantial damage to the unit (waste), or “creating a substantial interference with the comfort, safety, or enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants in the building.“
- Illegal use of the unit. Effective November 9, 2015, this just cause may not be used to evict a tenant from an illegal residential unit.
- Termination of the rental agreement and the tenant refuses to execute a written extension for materially the same terms.
- The tenant has, after written notice to cease, refused the landlord access to the unit as required by law.
- Unapproved subtenant (approval can be either stated or implied) is the only person still remaining in the unit (subtenant holding over).
- Move-in of the landlord or a close relative of the landlord (if the landlord lives in the building) who will move in within 3 months and live a minimum of 36 months in the unit (owner move-in eviction). Most long-term seniors, disabled tenants or, during the school year, tenants who have resided in the unit for at least a year and have a child residing in the unit have some protection from this type of eviction. The tenant has a right to relocation payments.
- Sale of a unit which has been converted to a condo. Seniors and permanently disabled tenants cannot be evicted for condo conversions. Other tenants have a right to a 1-year lease or 120 days with relocation payments.
- Demolition or removal of the unit from housing use with all the necessary permits. The tenant has a right to relocation payments.
- Capital improvements or rehabilitation with all the necessary permits that allows temporary removal of the unit from housing use. The tenant has the right to re-occupy the unit once the work is completed at the prior rent, adjusted by the Rent Board’s allowable rent increases such as the annual rent increase. The tenant has a right to relocation payments.
- “Substantial rehabilitation” of a building that is essentially uninhabitable with all the necessary permits. The tenant has a right to relocation payments.
- Ellis Act evictions which require withdrawal from rental housing use all of the units in the building or a unit detached from another structure on the same lot (e.g. a cottage). Seniors (over 62) and disabled tenants get a one year notice. Tenants evicted for this cause have a right to a relocation payment, and disabled and senior tenants (over 62) get one year notice. All tenants get at least 120 days notice.
- Lead abatement as required by the San Francisco Health Code with temporary removal of the unit from housing use for less than 30 days. The tenant has a right to a relocation payment.
- Demolition or to otherwise permanently remove the rental unit from housing use in accordance with the terms of a development agreement entered into by the City under Chapter 56 of the San Francisco Administrative Code.
- Good Samaritan Occupancy Status for the tenant expires, and the landlord serves an eviction notice within 60 days after expiration of the status. (The Good Samaritan Occupancy Status is when a tenant loses their home due to a disaster and the landlord rents another temporary unit to the tenant for low rent.)
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