New San Francisco Owner Move In Eviction Measures In Works
By DANIEL BORNSTEIN, ESQ.
Whenever possible, our goal at Bornstein Law is to keep clients ahead of the curve and not behind it, so we try to anticipate changes in the rules and regulations impacting Bay Area landlords, with one such measure currently on our radar.
It’s been approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and made its way up the tandem pole to the Mayor’s desk. He hasn’t signed it as of the date of this writing, but one stroke of the pen will impose additional hurdles for property owners to effectuate an Owner Move In Eviction (OMI), also known as Relative Move In Eviction (RMI). The legislation modifies 37.9 of the SF Rent Ordinance and may soon become the law of the land.
As a quick refresher, an Owner Move In Eviction is a situation where the property owner needs to relocate tenants for their own use. This is a specialized area of law we have carved a niche in throughout the Bay Area. We've put together a helpful Owner Move In Eviction Guide and you can download your PDF copy here.
Owner Move In evictions are the darling of tenant right advocates that have said OMI’s are overly used and abused by San Francisco landlords. We hasten to point out that the law is already clear that property owners seeking to “recover a possession of a unit for an owner or relative move in, [they] must do so in good faith, without ulterior motive and with honest intent” and may evict for close relatives under very limited circumstances. Given the rigors of meeting this test, this type of eviction is less pervasive and draconian as some camps would lead you to believe.
None the less, the new measure adds additional teeth to the City’s oversight of property owners once an OMI has taken place, in the spirit of assuring the owner is maintaining the unit as their principal place of residence and new tenants aren’t taking the place of the past ones. The property owner's promise to comply will not suffice – the city would continue to monitor compliance, give displaced tenants greater rights to sue the landlord, and impose heftier fines on property owners that do not follow the OMI limitations to the letter.
It’s not an easy read, but you can view the entirety of the proposed initiative here.
As a sidebar, while every circumstance is different, we prefer a tenant buy out agreement, whereby the renter voluntarily leaves the unit in exchange for compensation, and we advise our clients not to be penny wise and pound foolish.
A tenant buy out agreement, when done properly, can absolve property owners of risks attendant to an Owner Move In Eviction, liabilities that stand to greatly increase if the initiative at hand is inked.
This newsflash is one of many scary topics Bay Area property owners are facing, making it more imperative than ever to consult with the landlord attorneys of Bornstein Law to navigate the choppy waters.
As the founding attorney of Bornstein Law, Broker of Record for Bay Property Group and expert witness, Daniel Bornstein is a foremost and well-respected expert in landlord-tenant disputes and other property management issues with over 23 years of experience in handling real estate and civil litigation related disputes in and throughout the Bay Area. More than a litigator, Daniel manages rental properties, assists in completing real estate transactions and is well known for his educational seminars. He is always eager to answer questions and engage with Bay Area landlords, property owners and real estate professionals. Email him today.
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