New Amendment Prohibiting Owner Move-In Evictions of Minor Children During The School Year

Ordinance No. 33-10, which was recently passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the mayor, became effective on March 14, 2010. The Ordinance amendment adds new section 37.9(j), which generally provides that a tenant who has resided in the unit for at least one year, and has a child under the age of 18 who also resides in the unit, may not be evicted during the school year for an owner or relative move-in eviction. However, there are two exceptions: an owner move-in eviction may proceed if there is only one unit owned by the landlord in the building; or, if there are multiple units in the building, an owner move-in eviction may proceed if the owner will move into the unit with a minor child. These exceptions do not apply to relative move-in evictions. The eviction notice for owner/relative move-in must inform the tenant of this new restriction, and that the tenant must submit a  written claim of such protected status with supporting documentation within 30 days of receipt of the landlord's notice. Any dispute regarding a tenant's protected status may be decided by the court or the Rent Board. Section 37.9(j) is set forth below.

    (j)    The following additional provision shall apply to a landlord who seeks to recover a rental unit by utilizing the grounds enumerated in Section 37.9(a)(8):

        (1)  It shall be a defense to an eviction under Section 37.9(a)(8) if any tenant in the rental unit has a custodial or family relationship with a child under the age of 18 who is residing in the unit, the tenant with the custodial or family relationship has resided in the unit for 12 months or more, and the effective date of the notice of termination of tenancy falls during the school year. The term “school year” as used in this Section 37.9(j) means the first day of instruction for the Fall Semester through the last day of instruction for the Spring Semester, as posted on the San Francisco Unified School District website for each year.

        (2)  The foregoing provision Section 37.9(j)(1) shall not apply where there is only one rental unit owned by the landlord in the building, or where the owner who will move into the unit pursuant to a Section 37.9(a)(8) eviction has a custodial or family relationship with a child under the age of 18 who will reside in the unit with the owner.

        (3)  Within 30 days of personal service by the landlord of a written request, or, at the landlord’s option, a notice of termination of tenancy under Section 37.9(a)(8), the tenant must submit a statement with supporting evidence to the landlord, if the tenant claims to be a member of the class protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). The landlord’s written request or notice shall contain a warning that a tenant’s failure to submit a statement within the 30 day period shall be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). The landlord shall file a copy of the landlord’s request or notice with the Rent Board within 10 days of service on the tenant. A tenant’s failure to submit a statement within the 30 day period shall be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). A landlord may challenge a tenant’s claim of protected status either by requesting a hearing with the Rent Board or, at the landlord’s option, through commencement of eviction proceedings, including service of a notice of termination of tenancy. In the Rent Board hearing or the eviction action, the tenant shall have the burden of proof to show protected status. No civil or criminal liability under Section 37.9(e) or (f) shall be imposed upon a landlord for either requesting or challenging a tenant’s claim of protected status.

        (4)  For purposes of this Section 37.9(j), the term “custodial relationship” means that the person is a legal guardian of the child, or has a court-recognized caregiver authorization affidavit for the child, or that the person has provided full-time custodial care of the child pursuant to an agreement with the child’s legal guardian or court-recognized caregiver and has been providing that care for at least one year or half of the child’s lifetime, whichever is less. The term “family relationship” means that the person is the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle of the child, or the spouse or domestic partner of such relations.