Evicting a Tenant Under “Owner Move In”
There are 16 just causes to evict a tenant in San Francisco. Among them, the “owner move in” or “OMI” is a well-known cause for eviction in San Francisco nowadays. It is defined as an eviction where an owner of a unit who does not own another property in the City seeks to recover possession for himself or relative to move in, “without ulterior motive and with honest intent.” Owners may evict for a family member such as a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or the owner’s spouse or the spouse of such relations. The term “spouse” includes domestic partners. However, owners who evict for family members to move in must already live in the building or be moving into the building at the same time as the relative.
In buildings of two or more units, there are several conditions that give a tenant protected status so that he/she cannot be evicted for either the owner or the owner’s relative to move in. If you are 60 years old or older and have lived in the unit for more than 10 years, you are protected. If you are disabled under the Social Security Disability rules—which consider a person disabled if (a) she/he cannot perform the kind of work that he/she did before, (b) Social Security decides that he/she cannot be adjusted to other work because of his/her medical condition, and (c) her/his disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death—then you cannot be evicted under OMI. You are also protected if you are a tenant who is catastrophically ill and living in the unit for more than five years.
However, tenants who would otherwise have protected status may be evicted if the unit is a single-family home or is the only rental unit owned by the landlord in the building. A tenant may also be evicted if the landlord’s qualified relative who will move in is 60 years of age or older and each rental unit owned by the landlord in the same building (except the unit occupied by the landlord) is occupied by a tenant with protected status.
Finally, the landlord is not allowed to evict families with minors attending school during the school year. If you get an OMI eviction, you have 30 days once you receive the notice to inform the landlord in writing that you are a senior. The tenant must include evidence of the protected class. Such evidence can include a photocopy of your ID, passport, or any document that shows your name and age or your status as an SSI recipient.
During the year 2014, San Francisco had a total of 314 OMI evictions. While the ages of the tenants were not disclosed to the public, it is important to note that hundreds of seniors have been adversely affected by this kind of eviction.