Ellis Act Procedures

For a landlord to evict a tenant under the Ellis Act they must do two things concurrently. First they must evict the tenant and second they must legally remove the building from the rental marketplace.

What does it mean to evict a tenant? Evictions under the Ellis Act have defined rules that must be followed closely. Landlords must provide tenants with 120 days notice. For seniors and disabled tenants, the notice is one full year.

The next step (which should be done simultaneously) is for the landlord to file a Notice of Intent to Withdraw Units from the Rental Market with the San Francisco Rent Board. Note that the 120 day notice begins not when the eviction notice is received by the tenant but when the Notice of Intent to Withdraw is filed. For example, an eviction notice issued on June 1 combined with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw filed on June 15 will result in the tenant having an additional 15 days of notice or 135 days as opposed to 120 days. As such, it may be wise to issue the eviction notice and the Notice of Intent to Withdraw on the same day so that all parties are working under the same time constraint assumption. The eviction notice can not expire before the building is withdrawn from the market.

Landlords must inform tenants that the Notice of Intent to Withdraw has been filed within 15 days of filing the notice with the rent board. The landlord must also inform the tenant of their rights regarding relocation and re-occupancy. This can be done in the eviction notice itself. The rent board will also inform the tenant regarding their rights and that the Notice of Intent to Withdraw has been filed.

During the 120 day period, the landlord needs to summarize the Notice of Intent to Withdraw in a memorandum and file with the County Recorder. At the end of the 120 days after the Notice of Intent to Withdraw is filed, the building is considered legally removed from the market. At this point the landlord can begin unlawful detainer procedures.

Unlawful Detainer is essentially the “second eviction” notice and comes under the title of “Summons and Complaint For Unlawful Detainer”. Tenants need to respond to this within 5 days or they risk losing their right to a hearing.

The last step in the process is that the Rent Board records the Ellis constraints with the County Recorder. This is done within 30 days of withdrawal from the market. In all, the process is a minimum of 150 days from the first eviction notice.