How to Evict a Tenant in San Francisco

In San Francisco, the eviction process is a little different than elsewhere in the State of California. For rent controlled tenants, an eviction can only occur if a just cause has occurred. Landlords must also pay relocation benefits to tenants in an eviction that is ruled to be a “no fault” eviction. Just because a landlord tells a tenant that they must move does not mean that a tenant must legally comply.

What Are the Just Causes for Eviction in San Francisco?

The most common reason for a just cause eviction in San Francisco is the failure to pay rent. If a tenant has a history of paying with NSF checks or paying beyond the rental deadline, this may also qualify as a just cause. There are a few other specific just causes as well:

• Conducting illegal activity on the property.
• Interference with the comfort and safety of others.
• Violation of rental terms.
• A landlord cannot gain a reasonable access to the property to make repairs, improvements, or to show the unit.

There are additional just causes for an eviction, but these require a hefty stipend of up to more than $15k per household if they occur:

• An owner may move into a unit that is currently being rented.
• The building may be demolished.
• To improve the unit with a temporary relocation.
• To withdraw a building or property from the rental market.

How Long Does an Eviction Take?

In most circumstances, an eviction can be completed within 60 days in San Francisco. It can go more quickly if a tenant fails to respond to a notice and a default judgment is entered instead, as soon as 7 days in some circumstances. Landlords will give the first eviction notice and if that is not followed, the court will issue a second eviction notice. A tenant may challenge this notice in court and only a sheriff's deputy can post the final eviction if the court rules in favor of the landlord.

For an eviction notice in San Francisco to be considered a legal notice, it must outline a method for the tenant to resolve the issue if it is a curable issue, such as not paying the rent. For just cause evictions, a 30 day notice must be given to tenants who have lived in their home less than 1 year and a 60 day notice must be given if they have resided at that address for more than a year. Certain evictions require 120 days notice.

The one benefit: if you move to an unlawful detainer, a tenant has just 5 business days to respond.

In San Francisco, it is important that everyone knows their rights because certain evictions may make tenants eligible for an extensive amount of relocation benefits. An eviction cannot occur just to raise the rent of a property. There must be a just cause that can be proven.
Posted on Jul 09, 2014


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