In San Francisco, landlords can legally evict their tenants if they – or in some cases, their relatives – want to move into the home.

At Bornstein Law, we have fielded many requests from property owners that need to relocate their tenants, through no fault of the residents that rent from them.

The term “eviction” is synonymous with tenants that are chronically late on their rent or damage the property. But in fact, there are certain situations where the property owner needs to relocate responsible tenants for their own use. This is certainly permissible, with many caveats.


It's a touchy, delicate subject.  Although the tenants may be very studious and pay their rent on time, they can be transitioned from the unit as a result of an owner’s desire to use the unit for their own use. This involves both rights and responsibilities of the landlord.


Normally, these type of awkward conversations fall into two categories.

Either the landlord wants to sell the property and therefore ask the tenant to voluntarily leave the premises in exchange for compensation, a topic covered more in depth in this blog post, or the property owner wants to transition tenants out of the rental property in order to accommodate himself/herself moving in.
When a tenant is replaced with the property owner or their relative as the occupant, this process is called an Owner Move In Eviction/Relative Move In Eviction, also referred to as an OMI/RMI.
These type of hybrid evictions are commonplace with San Francisco vacancies so low, as San Francisco housing supply creeps up and matches renter demand. This article discusses the market forces at play.


If you are a property owner seeking to “recover possession of a unit for an owner or relative to move in, [you] must due so in good faith, without ulterior motive and with honest intent”, and may evict “for a family member such as a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or the owner’s spouse or spouses of such” under certain very limited purposes.


Your relationship to the incoming tenant, equity stake in the property, age of the current tenant and co-ownership interests in the property are just some of the many dizzying factors to consider when affecting an Owner Move In Eviction. This is not the time to go it alone. Given such a highly regulated and complex area of law, it is imperative that you contact a competent legal team like Bornstein Law to ensure compliance.


UPDATE: Since the date of this writing, there are new OMI restrictions that may imminently become law. Get more info in this post →


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