Elke & Merchant LLP has experience with Bay Area evictions. An unlawful detainer is the legal procedure by which a landlord can attempt to evict a tenant. A tenant has many defenses to fight an improper eviction. In San Francisco, if your rental unit is covered by the eviction protections in the San Francisco Rent Ordinance you may only be evicted from your home for one of fifteen (15) “just causes” under Ordinance Section 37.9(a).
However, if a tenant lives in the same rental unit as the landlord, the landlord may evict the tenant without a just cause. Similarly, if a “master tenant” follows very strict procedures prior to the commencement of a sub-tenancy, the master tenant may also be able to evict the sub-tenant without a just cause.
The fifteen (15) just causes under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance are:
- Failure to pay rent;
- Breach of lease;
- Using the rental unit for an illegal purpose;
- Refusing to sign a new lease that is materially the same as previous lease;
- Refusing landlord access to the rental unit after reasonable notice;
- Unauthorized sub-letter retaining possession of the rental unit after expiration of the lawful tenancy;
- Owner Move-In;
- Condominium conversion;
- Landlord seeks to demolish unit;
- Temporary capital improvements eviction;
- Temporary substantial rehabilitation eviction;
- Landlord seeks to withdraw unit from rental market (Ellis Act);
- Temporary lead remediation eviction;
- Landlord seeks to create new city-approved affordable or mixed-use housing.
Just Causes Nos. 1-7 are commonly known as “fault” evictions – the tenant is accused of acting inappropriately and therefore the tenant’s behavior forms a justification for eviction. In other words it’s the tenant’s own “fault” that he was evicted.
Just Causes Nos. 8-15 are commonly known as “no-fault” evictions – the tenant did nothing wrong and is only being evicted because the landlord has either chosen or been forced to exercise her right to evict the tenant.