Topic No. 157: Evictions of Roommates and Subtenants

A master tenant who resides in the same rental unit with his or her subtenant may evict the subtenant without one of the “just cause” reasons enumerated in Rent Ordinance Section 37.9. However, for any subtenancy commencing on or after May 25, 1998, the master tenant may not evict a subtenant without just cause unless the master tenant disclosed in writing to the subtenant that the tenancy is not subject to the just cause eviction provisions of the Ordinance prior to the commencement of that tenancy.

Only landlords are allowed to evict their tenants. A master tenant is considered a landlord in relation to his or her subtenant, meaning that a master tenant is able to evict a subtenant. A master tenant may not remove or lock out a subtenant or take the subtenant’s belongings in order to force a subtenant to move. Master tenants must comply with state law unlawful detainer procedures in order to evict a subtenant.

Subtenants do not have the right to evict their master tenant or other subtenants or roommates. Similarly, roommates who are co-tenants cannot evict their fellow co-tenants.

We highly recommend that master tenants seek the advice of an attorney experienced in this area of the law before asking a subtenant to move or attempting an eviction. For more information about evictions, refer to Fact Sheet 4. You may obtain a copy of Fact Sheet 4 by visiting our office during regular business hours. This document is also available in the Forms Center on our website.


February 2019