Topic No. 206: Temporary Eviction for Capital Improvements

Recent amendments to the Rent Ordinance, effective November 9, 2015, may have changed some of the information provided here. The Rent Board is currently considering amendments to its Rules and Regulations that may also affect the accuracy of the information provided here. This information will be updated in the near future. You may contact the Rent Board at (415)252-4602 or visit the office at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 320 in San Francisco if you have questions about this topic.

A landlord may recover possession of a rental unit if the landlord seeks in good faith and without ulterior motive to temporarily remove the unit from housing use in order to carry out capital improvements or rehabilitation work. Such an eviction is allowed only if the premises will be hazardous, unhealthy and/or uninhabitable while the work is in progress. If there is a dispute between the landlord and the tenant as to whether the proposed work will create a hazardous or unhealthy environment, the tenant may file a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction at the Rent Board.

In order to evict for capital improvement work, the landlord must obtain all the necessary permits before a notice to vacate is given. Copies of all necessary permits, a description of the work to be done and a reasonable approximate date when the tenant can reoccupy the unit shall be given to the tenant on or before the date the notice to vacate is served. The landlord must also advise the tenant in writing that the rehabilitation or capital improvement plans are on file with the Central Permit Bureau of the Department of Building Inspection and that arrangements for reviewing such plans can be made.

If the landlord knows or should know that the work will require the removal of the tenant for more than three months, the landlord must file a Petition for Extension of Time at the Rent Board before giving the notice to vacate. If, after the notice to vacate has been given or after the work has commenced, it becomes apparent that the work will take longer than three months (or longer than the time approved by the Rent Board in a prior Petition for Extension of Time), the landlord must immediately file a Petition for Extension of Time along with a statement explaining why the work will take more time. A hearing shall be promptly scheduled to determine the reasonableness of the landlord's time estimate.

Any landlord who seeks to recover temporary possession of a unit in order to carry out capital improvements is required to pay relocation expenses to each authorized occupant, regardless of age, who has resided in the unit for at least one year. Each occupant is entitled to a relocation payment of $4,500.00, with a maximum payment of $13,500.00 per unit. In addition, each elderly tenant who is 60 years or older, and each disabled tenant, and each household with one or more minor children, is entitled to an additional payment of $3,000.00. Each year commencing March 1, 2007, the amount of these relocation payments shall be adjusted for inflation. Information regarding current relocation payment amounts can be obtained from the Rent Board by calling (415)252-4602 or by visiting our website at www.sfrb.org. A list of relocation payment amounts is also available at our office.

The landlord is required to give all occupants of the unit written notice of relocation rights on or before the date of service of the eviction notice and shall also provide a copy of Ordinance Section 37.9C. The landlord must file a copy of this notification with the Rent Board within 10 days after service of the notice, together with a copy of the eviction notice and proof of service upon the tenant. Within 30 days of receiving a tenant's claim for the additional $3,000.00 payment because of disability, age, or having children in the household, the landlord must inform the Rent Board in writing of the tenant's claim and whether or not the landlord disputes the claim.

Any tenant who vacates the unit for capital improvement or rehabilitation work shall have the right to reoccupy the unit at the prior rent, plus any allowable annual increases. The landlord can also file a petition to increase the rent for any capital improvement costs that are not reimbursed by insurance.

Immediately upon completion of the improvements, the landlord must advise the displaced tenants in writing that the unit is ready for reoccupancy. If the landlord fails to allow a displaced tenant to reoccupy the premises within three months or within the time period authorized by an Administrative Law Judge after a hearing on a landlord's Petition for Extension of Time, the tenant may file a Tenant Petition for arbitration based on decreased housing services at the Rent Board. The tenant may be entitled to a rent reduction equivalent to the difference in rent between the unit from which the tenant was displaced and the replacement unit.

To receive a copy of the Landlord Petition for Extension of Time or the Tenant Petition or the Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction form, you can fax it to yourself through our Fax Back system by calling (415)252-4660 or visit our website at www.sfrb.org. The forms are also available at our office.

January 2007

 

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