PART 12 - LEGAL ACTIONS UNDER ORDINANCE SECTION 37.9(e)

Section 12.10 Reports of Alleged Wrongful Evictions; Notice to Parties

The Board shall adopt a form for reports of alleged wrongful evictions. Upon submission to the Board of a completed Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction, the Board shall send a notice acknowledging receipt of the report and summarizing the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants regarding possession of, and eviction from, residential rental units and unlawful detainer proceedings to both landlord and tenant, without fee.

Section 12.11 Investigation of Reports of Alleged Wrongful Eviction

  1. The Executive Director shall investigate a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction to determine if there is evidence of any of the following:
    1. A landlord is evicting more than one tenant at approximately the same time;
    2. that an eviction may be in retaliation for a dispute arising from a tenant"s exercising of his or her rights under the Ordinance;
    3. that a dispute over the proper interpretation of the Ordinance is involved in an eviction or eviction attempt;
    4. that after a tenant has been required to vacate a rental unit, it appears that the eviction was effected by fraud or in bad faith; or
    5. a policy issue of city-wide importance is raised.
  2. If the Executive Director finds that none of the above acts of unlawful eviction is met regarding a case of alleged wrongful eviction, the tenant shall be informed of such decision immediately and in writing.

Section 12.12 Hearing of Alleged Wrongful Eviction

If the Executive Director determines that there is evidence of any of the acts of unlawful eviction set forth in Section 12.11, the Executive Director shall mail a notice to the complainant and to the allegedly wrongfully evicting landlord that a hearing has been set before a hearing officer of the Board at the date no less than five (5) and no more than twenty (20) days from the date of mailing of the notice, to consider whether or not the landlord has acted or is acting in violation of Section 37.9(a) A copy of the tenant"s Report shall be sent with such notice to the landlord. Both landlord and tenant shall be notified that they or their representatives may address the hearing officer at such meeting on the question of the existence or absence of a violation of Section 37.9(a) of the Ordinance, may make sworn statements if they wish, and may invite witnesses to speak on the matter.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall report to the Board a summary of the evidence produced at the hearing. The Board may elect to hold additional hearings. If the Board finds, by a vote of at least three (3) members, that it appears there has been or there exists an eviction or attempted eviction in violation of the Ordinance by the landlord, the Board"s public consideration of the matter shall end. Thereafter, the matter shall be one of prospective or actual litigation and shall be discussed in Executive Session unless, and to the extent, the members unanimously approve public discussion thereof. Notice of a decision by the Board to take no action on an alleged wrongful eviction shall be sent to the parties and such decision shall not prejudice a request by the tenant for further consideration upon the discovery of new evidence.

Section 12.13 Legal Action

Where the Board first finds an eviction or attempted eviction to be in violation of the Ordinance, the Board shall decide whether or not to commence legal action against the landlord requiring the vote of three (3) or more members.

Section 12.14 Evictions under Section 37.9(a)(8)

(Amended June 18, 1991; Subsection (c) amended March 7, 1995; Subsection (d) added October 20, 1998; amended June 10, 2008)
  1. For purposes of an eviction under Section 37.9(a)(8) of the Ordinance, the term "landlord" shall mean a natural person, or group of natural persons who in good faith hold a recorded fee interest in the property and meet one of the following requirements:
    1. held a recorded fee interest of at least 10%, or a recorded equitable interest under contract of sale of at least 10%, which interest was recorded on or before February 21, 1991, and continues to hold at least such a 10% interest on the date of service of the notice to vacated; or
    2. holds a recorded fee interest of at least 25%, or a recorded equitable interest under contract of sale of at least 25%, on the date of service of the notice to vacate.
  2. On or before service of the notice to vacate, the tenant shall be informed in writing of (1) the identity and percentage of ownership of the owner to move in or (2) the name and relationship of the relative to move in, as well as the name and percentage of ownership of the evicting owner; and (3) the date the current percentage of ownership was recorded.
  3. For purposes of an eviction under Section 37.9(a)(8) of the Ordinance, a landlord or landlord"s relative can have only ONE "principal place of residence" which is defined as the permanent or primary home of the party claiming that a unit has that status attached to it. It is a unit that the party occupies for more than temporary or transitory purposes. Evidence that a unit is or is intended to be the party"s "principal place of residence" includes, but is not limited to, the following elements, a compilation of which lends greater credibility to the claim of "principal place of residence of an owner" whereas the presence of only one element may not support such claim:
    1. the subject premises are listed as the owner"s place of residence on any motor vehicle registration, driver"s license, or with any other public agency, including State and local taxing authorities;
    2. utilities are installed under the owner"s name at the subject premises;
    3. all of the owner"s personal possessions have been moved into the subject premises;
    4. a homeowner"s tax exemption;
    5. voter registration;
    6. a U.S. Postal Change of Address form; and
    7. the subject premises are the place the owner normally returns to as his/her home, exclusive of military service, hospitalization, vacation, or travel necessitated by employment;
    8. notice to move at another dwelling unit was given in order to move into the subject premises; and
    9. the owner sold or placed on the market for sale the home he/she occupied prior to the subject premises.
  4. A tenant is disabled under Ordinance Section 37.9(i)(1)(B)(i) if the tenant meets the standard for blindness or disability under the federal Supplemental Security Income/California State Supplemental Program (SSI/SSP). In determining whether a tenant is disabled, a finder of fact shall consider relevant evidence, including:

    (1) findings by any government entity concerning a disability;

    (2) testimony concerning the disability; and

    (3) medical evidence concerning the disability.

Section 12.15 Evictions Regarding Capital Improvement or Rehabilitation Work

(Amended February 10, 1987, effective February 14, 1987 and applicable to notices served on or after that date; amended January 9, 2007)
  1. For purposes of an eviction under Section 37.9(a)(11) of the Ordinance, the capital improvement and/or rehabilitation work to be done must involve work that would make the unit hazardous, unhealthy, and/or uninhabitable while work is in progress. If there is a dispute between the landlord and the tenant as to whether the work that is to be performed creates a hazardous or unhealthy environment, the tenant may file a report of alleged wrongful eviction with the Board.
  2. (1) Copies of all necessary permits, a description of work to be done and a reasonable approximate date (month and year) when the tenant can reoccupy the unit shall be given to the tenant on or before the date of service of the notice to vacate. On or before the date of service of the notice to vacate, the landlord also must advise the tenant in writing that the permit application and the rehabilitation or capital improvement plans, if required by the Building Inspection Department, are on file with the Central Permit Bureau of the Building Inspection Dept., located at 1660 Mission Street, and arrangements may be made to review such applications or plans.

    (2) The tenant will vacate the unit only for the minimum time required to do the work as stated in the notice, not to exceed three months, unless the time is extended by the Board upon petition by the landlord pursuant to subsection (e) below.
  3. Displaced tenants should advise the Board and the landlord of their temporary addresses during the period of displacement in order that they may be notified regarding their relocation.
  4. Moving Costs

    Any landlord who seeks to recover possession of a unit pursuant to Section 37.9(a)(11) of the Ordinance shall pay each relocation expenses as provided in Section 37.9C of the Ordinance.

  5. Landlord"s Petition for Extension of Time
    1. Before giving the notice to vacate, if the landlord knows or should know that the work will require the removal of the tenant(s) for more than the three months authorized under Ordinance Section 37.9(a)(11), the landlord shall petition the Rent Board for approval of displacement for more than three months. The petition shall include one original and copies for each involved tenant of the following documents:
      1. A completed petition form;
      2. Copies of all necessary building permits, showing approval has been granted;
      3. A written breakdown of the work to be performed, detailing where the work will be done and the cost of the work;
      4. An estimate of the time needed to accomplish the work and approximate date (month and day) each involved tenant may reoccupy.
    2. If, after the notice to vacate has been given or after the work has commenced, it is apparent that the work will take longer than the three months authorized under Section 37.9(a)(11) or longer than the time approved by the Board, the landlord immediately shall file a petition pursuant to subsection (e)(1) above, along with a statement of why the work will require more time.
    3. A hearing on the landlord"s petition shall be scheduled within 30 days of the date of filing the petition and conducted pursuant to Part 11 of these Rules and Regulations. The hearing officer shall render a written decision as to the reasonableness of the landlord"s time estimate. The tenants or the landlord may appeal this determination by filing an appeal with the Commissioners pursuant to Ordinance Section 37.8(f).
  6. Nothing in this section shall preclude a tenant from filing a report of alleged wrongful eviction with the Board.

Section 12.16 Reoccupancy Following Evictions Under Section 37.9(a)(11)

(Formerly Section 12.15; amended February 10, 1987, effective February 14, 1987 and applicable to notices to vacate served on or after that date; Subsection (a) amended September 8, 2009, to be effective November 1, 2009)
  1. Where a tenant has vacated a unit to allow a landlord to carry out capital improvements or rehabilitation work, pursuant to Section 37.9(a)(11) of the Ordinance, the landlord shall advise the tenant, in writing, immediately on completion of the improvements, and shall allow the tenant to reoccupy the unit as soon as the improvements or rehabilitation work is completed, and shall not increase the rent for such reoccupancy by more than the limitations set forth in Section 4 above. The tenant shall have 30 days from receipt of the landlord’s offer of reoccupancy to notify the landlord of acceptance or rejection of the offer and, if accepted, shall reoccupy the unit within 45 days of receipt of the landlord’s offer.

  2. If the time period allowed to perform the work pursuant to Section 12.15 above has passed and the landlord has not informed the tenant that the unit is ready for reoccupancy, the tenant may file a decrease in service petition and/or a report of alleged wrongful eviction. Upon a proper showing, the tenant may be awarded a rent reduction to correspond with the decrease in services calculated by the difference between the monthly rent formerly paid for the unit from which the tenant was displaced and the monthly rent paid for the replacement unit.

Section 12.17 Notices to Vacate Filed with the Board

(Added February 10, 1987, effective February 14, 1987)

At the time of filing, the Board shall make no determination as to the legal sufficiency of notices to vacate filed pursuant to Ordinance Section 37.9(c) or of procedures followed by the parties.

Section 12.18 Procedures Regarding Evictions under Section 37.9(a)(13)

(Formerly Section 12.17 adopted October 29, 1986; numerical correction to subsection (j) August 20, 1996; Entire Section deleted, effective June 29, 1999)

Section 12.19 Other Displacements

(Added March 7, 1989; Subsections (a) and (c) amended September 17, 2013)
  1. If a tenant is forced to vacate her/his unit due to fire or other disaster, the landlord shall, within 30 days of completion of repairs to the unit, offer the same unit to that tenant under the same terms and conditions as existed prior to her/his displacement. The landlord’s offer shall be sent to the address provided by the tenant. If the tenant has not provided an address, the offer shall be sent to the unit from which the tenant was displaced and to any other address of the tenant of which the landlord has actual knowledge, including electronic mail (e-mail) addresses.
  2. The tenant shall have 30 days from receipt of the landlord's offer to notify the landlord of acceptance or rejection of the offer and, if accepted, shall reoccupy the unit within 45 days of receipt of the landlord's offer.
  3. However, the cost of capital improvements which are necessary before rerenting a unit which was damaged or destroyed as set forth in subsection (a) above, which cost was not reimbursed by insurance proceeds or by any other means (such as a satisfied judgment) may be passed through to the tenant by utilization of the capital improvement petition process as set forth in Part 7 above. Any rent increase under this section would require that a notice be served upon the tenant(s) pursuant to Civil Code Section 827.
  4. The landlord who attempts to rerent a unit, but refuses to allow a tenant to return to her/his home under this section shall have wrongfully endeavored to recover or wrongfully recovered said tenant"s rental unit in violation of Section 37.9 of the Ordinance and shall be liable to the displaced tenants for actual and punitive damages as provided by Ordinance Section 37.9(f). This remedy shall be in addition to any other remedy available to the tenant under the Rent Ordinance.

Section 12.20 Evictions under Section 37.9(a)(2)

(Adopted November 12, 1997; amended March 6, 2007; amended December 14, 2011; amended February 1, 2012)

    (a)   Unilaterally Imposed Obligations and Covenants

    Notwithstanding any change in the terms of a tenancy pursuant to Civil Code Section 827, a tenant may not be evicted for violation of a covenant or obligation that was not included in the tenant's rental agreement at the inception of the tenancy unless: (1) the change in the terms of the tenancy is authorized by the Rent Ordinance or required by federal, state or local law; or (2) the change in the terms of the tenancy was accepted in writing by the tenant after receipt of written notice from the landlord that the tenant need not accept such new term as part of the rental agreement. The landlord's inability to evict a tenant under this Section for violation of a unilaterally imposed change in the terms of a tenancy shall not constitute a decrease in housing service under the Rent Ordinance as to any other tenant.