Owner Occupancy or Owner Move-In Exceptions

There are certain exceptions that limit a property owner’s options related to evicting a tenant for the purpose of owner occupancy or owner “move-in”.  These exceptions include but are not limited to the following:

  • Seniors and/or Disabled Persons – Tenants aged 60 or over and/or disabled persons who have lived in a unit for 10 years are protected from owner occupancy evictions. The time limit is 5 years for people who are catastrophically ill.  
  • Unexpired Lease – Tenants whose lease has not expired can not be evicted.
  • Condo Conversion – Tenants who occupy a unit in process of condo conversion are permitted to stay in the unit for one year post conversion.   
  • Owner Occupancy Time Requirements – An occupying owner must intend on occupying the unit within three months of an eviction. They also must occupy the unit for a minimum of  36 months.
  • Re-Renting a Unit after Owner Occupancy Eviction – In cases where an owner decides to re-rent a unit after evicting a tenant under the premise of owner occupancy, the unit must be offered to the evicted tenant at the previous rental rate. If the offer is declined, the unit may only be offered to the public at the previous rental rate.
  • One Eviction Per Unit Limit - Owner occupancy is only permitted as cause for eviction once per building. There are certain exceptions in cases where multiple family members inhabit a building or in cases where multiple units are being combined into one unit.
  • One Unit Per Building Limit – Since November 1998, only one unit in a given building can be the target of an owner occupancy eviction. This rule applies indefinitely and to all owners regardless if the building is resold.
  • Ownership Percentage - A property owner must own a certain percentage of the property for an owner–occupancy eviction to be valid. The percentage of ownership depends on the date the owner took title. Owners who recorded ownership after February 1991 are required to hold 25% interest in the building for a owner-occupancy eviction to be valid. For titles held prior to February 1991 the percentage of ownership threshold is 10%. Only domestic partners can combine their interests to achieve a 25% interest in order to occupy a unit.
  • Alternative Dwelling - A property owner can not evict a tenant on the grounds that the owner intends to occupy the unit if the owner owns a comparable alternative dwelling. If a landlord owns a vacant non-comparable dwelling, the evicted tenant must be offered the vacant dwelling at a rental rate base upon the tenants prior rent.
  • Recording - For an owner-occupancy eviction to be valid, the occupying owners must record in the San Francisco County Records a document that designates that the unit has an owner-occupancy eviction and any restrictions related to it. This information becomes a part of the units official title report and may effect the property’s valuation as well as its marketability.
  • Good Faith - For an owner-occupancy eviction to be valid, the occupying owners must act in good faith. If a tenant can prove in court that an eviction occurred because of an ulterior motive (most often that the intent was profit in lieu of occupancy), the eviction may be overturned and the owner liable for damages.
  • Moving Expenses - Evicted tenants are entitled to moving expenses of $1000 per person if they have resided in the unit for 12 months or more.