Owner Move-In and Wrongful Eviction

You, a long-term low-rent tenant, receive notice your landlord wants to move in to your home within 60 days. You move out. However, it looks like the landlord did not move in because her car is never there, and other people are living in your former home. It appears you have been wrongfully evicted.

With San Francisco vacancy rates at 2%, landlords are using the owner move-in provision of the San Francisco Rent Ordinance to evict long-term tenants. The San Francisco Rent Ordinance states that a landlord must move in to your former home within three months after you move out and live there for at least 36 months. If the landlord does not, then you can file a lawsuit for damages in the Superior Court for wrongful eviction. Typically, you may recover your loss of use and emotional distress damages. Loss of use is the difference between market rent of your former home and what you paid for rent extended out over a period of time. The time period depends on how long you lived in your home because older tenants are less likely to move than younger tenants.

The courts have held that a tenant must file a lawsuit under the Rent Ordinance within one year after she was wrongfully evicted. If you are approaching the one year deadline, consult an attorney immediately to understand and preserve your right to seek damages under the Rent Ordinance.

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Tenant Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

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