San Francisco Just Cause Eviction
Does rent control apply in your rental property?
“Just cause” evictions are an important term for rental property owners to master if their units are in rent-controlled jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont.
In San Francisco, just cause evictions are spelled out in Chapter 37 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, known in most parliaments as The Rent Ordinance. You can view the html version here, or for a hard copy, download the pdf.
First and foremost, you need to know whether your rental unit falls under the authority of the Rent Ordinance. Generally speaking, this is decided upon when the Certificate of Occupancy was issued. If issued prior to June 14, 1979, your unit is likely governed by the Rent Ordinance.
The Certificate of Occupancy is a document which certifies the rental unit is in compliance with applicable building codes and other laws. This document signals that the structure is suitable for tenants to occupy. There are many exceptions and nuances, so right out the gate, you should contact Bornstein Law to answer the fundamental question of whether your property is subject to rent control.
"In San Francisco and in some other jurisdictions in the Bay Area, we have rent control. And that ends up creating a situation where the longer a tenant resides in a unit, the cheaper the rent becomes for a tenant. What that means is that you don’t have that fluid nature of people moving to new housing, allowing for additional opportunities for housing to actually open up".
~ Daniel Bornstein in a 2014 interview with AJ+
When rent control applies, the City regulates rent increases, and only allows evictions when landlords can prove just cause.
There are 15 just cause reasons for eviction under Ordinance Section 37.9(a). The most common reasons we see at Bornstein Law are:
Non-payment of rent or habitual late payment of rent;
Breach of a rental agreement or lease;
Owner-occupancy or occupancy by a member of the landlord's immediate family;
To perform capital improvements which will make the unit temporarily uninhabitable while the work is being done;
To perform substantial rehabilitation of a building that is at least 50 years old, provided that the cost of the proposed work is at least 75% of the cost of new construction;
To withdraw the rental units from the rental market under the Ellis Act;
Creation of a nuisance or substantial interference with the landlord or other tenants in the building; and
To demolish or permanently remove a rental unit from housing use.
Lawmakers got together to protect tenants against bad landlords. But there was no concerted effort to protect landlords against bad tenants.
That's the role of Bornstein Law. For over two decades, we have successfully effectuated hundreds of just cause evictions in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. For informed advice, contact us today.