Topic No. 207: Evictions Based on Substantial Rehabilitation

General Information

A landlord may evict a tenant pursuant to Ordinance Section 37.9(a)(12) in order to perform substantial rehabilitation of a building containing essentially uninhabitable residential rental units of 50 or more years of age which require substantial renovation in order to conform to contemporary standards for decent, safe and sanitary housing. Cosmetic improvements alone such as painting, decorating and minor repairs, or other work which can be performed safely without having the units vacated, do not qualify as substantial rehabilitation.

Improvements will not be deemed substantial unless the estimated cost of the proposed work equals or exceeds 75% of the cost of newly constructed residential buildings of the same number of units and type of construction, excluding land costs and architectural/engineering fees, based upon the Cost Schedule published by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI). Any insurance proceeds that are used to pay for the work may not be counted as part of the cost. For purposes of such evictions, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the cost stated for the work in the applicable approved construction permits is the estimated cost of the proposed work, and the DBI Cost Schedule in effect on the date the eviction notice is served shall apply.

In addition, a landlord who recovers possession of a rental unit in order to perform substantial rehabilitation must file a petition with the Rent Board for exemption based on substantial rehabilitation within the earlier of either two years following recovery of possession of the rental unit or one year following completion of the work. A landlord who fails to file a petition within such time and thereafter obtain a determination of exempt status from the Board shall be rebuttably presumed to have wrongfully recovered possession of the tenant's rental unit in violation of the Ordinance.

To receive a copy of the Substantial Rehabilitation Petition for Exemption, you can visit the Forms Center on our website. The form is also available at our office.

Notice Requirements

In addition to general eviction notice requirements, there are specific requirements for eviction notices due to substantial rehabilitation work, including:

  • The landlord must obtain any necessary permits for the work before giving the eviction notice to the tenant.
  • The notice must advise the tenant of their right to receive relocation payments, including a statement describing the additional relocation expenses available for eligible tenants who are senior or disabled and for households with children. A copy of Rent Ordinance Section 37.9C must also be attached to the notice.
  • The notice must include a warning that the tenant must advise the landlord in writing within 30 days if the tenant is claiming a protected status, and that the failure to do so will be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected.
  • A copy of Rent Board Form 1007 must be attached to the eviction notice. Form 1007 is available in the Forms Center on the Rent Board’s website.
  • The notice must be filed with the Rent Board, accompanied by a proof of service on the tenant, within ten days of service of the notice on the tenant.

Relocation Payments

Landlords are required to pay relocation expenses to tenants who are being evicted to perform substantial rehabilitation work. Pursuant to Ordinance Section 37.9C, each authorized occupant, regardless of age, who has lived in the unit for at least one year is entitled to a relocation payment of $4,500.00 (as of March 1, 2007), 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, including the maximum relocation expenses per unit, is adjusted for inflation.

Information regarding current relocation payment amounts are available in the Forms Center of the Rent Board’s website. A list of relocation payment amounts is also available at the Rent Board’s 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. Such notification shall include a statement describing the additional relocation expenses available for eligible tenants who are senior or disabled and for households with children. 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 payment because of age, disability, 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. However, the Rent Board does not have authority to accept or decide petitions regarding a tenant’s claim for additional relocation expenses based on age, disability or having children in the household. Such disputes must be resolved in another forum.

Half of the required relocation payment must be paid at the time the notice to vacate is served, and the second half must be paid when the unit is vacated. Any additional payments required due to a tenant’s age or disability, or due to a household with a minor child, must be paid within fifteen calendar days of the landlord's receipt of written notice from the tenant of entitlement to the additional relocation payment along with supporting evidence, and the second half must be paid when the unit is vacated.

Protected Status During the School Year for Households with Minor Children and School Employees

The landlord may not evict a tenant from the unit to perform substantial rehabilitation work during the school year if a child under 18 or a person who works at a school in San Francisco (an “educator”) resides in the rental unit, is a tenant in the unit or has a custodial or family relationship with a tenant in the unit, and the tenant has resided in the unit for 12 months or more.

Any tenant who claims to have protected status must notify the owner of the tenant’s protected status within 30 days of receiving either an eviction notice or a written request from the owner to declare the tenant’s protected status. The tenant must also include evidence supporting the claim of protected status. The tenant’s failure to submit a statement within the 30-day period shall be deemed an admission that the tenant does not have protected status. The landlord may contest a tenant’s claim of protected status either by filing a petition with the Rent Board or through eviction proceedings in court.

For the purpose of determining whether a tenant has a protected status, the following definitions apply:

Custodial relationship” means, with respect to a child and a tenant, that the tenant is a legal guardian of the child, or has a court-recognized caregiver authorization affidavit for the child, or 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.

Educator” means any person who works at a school in San Francisco as an employee or independent contractor of the school or of the governing body that has jurisdiction over the school, including, without limitation, all teachers, classroom aides, administrators, administrative staff, counselors, social workers, psychologists, school nurses, speech pathologists, custodians, security guards, cafeteria workers, community relations specialists, child welfare and attendance liaisons, and learning support consultants.

Family relationship” means that the person is the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle of the child or educator, or the spouse or domestic partner of such relations.

School” means any state-licensed child care center, state-licensed family day care, and/or any public, private, or parochial institution that provides educational instruction for students in any or all of the grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

School year” 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.


October 2019