‘I’ve inherited a house from my deceased aunt in San Francisco. She rented the basement to an older couple for years without a lease.’ Can I evict them?
Can I evict tenants who lived in a home I inherited for years without a lease? A reader asks MarketWatch in this week's Big Move column.
If the couple was living in the basement and it is not a legal or separate unit, then they were more like roommates. I know the rules are different in owner-occupied rentals.
The answer is a bit complicated for anyone in this situation. Some potential scenarios:
If tenants are over the ages of 60 and have lived in the unit for 10 years or more, there are considered a protected tenant and protected against owner move ins. That however, doesn't apply if the landlord only owns one unit in the building or where the landlord already lives in the building where a "protected tenant" resides in each unit and the landlord wants to do a relative move-in (RMI) where the relative is 60 years old or older. (source).
Another option is Ellis Act, but you have to pay the tenants $7.2K to leave, up to a max amount of $21K. If they are over 60 and/or disabled, its another 4K per tenant. You need to give them a year notice. If you rent it out again within 5 years, you have to re-rent it at the old rent rate. If you rent it out again within 10 years, you have to give the evicted tenant first right of renting it again. (source)
A third option is to pay the tenants to leave. This could get expensive, depending on location. You can look up the historical data by neighborhood and address (source).
Another option is to raise the rent, and hope they will leave. Unfortunately, you are generally limited to a small annual amount that you can raise it by. If the rent hasn't been raised in awhile, you can combine them together to bring it to the allowable amount. (source). That said, rent control is limited to certain properties built before June 1979. Single family homes are not covered by rent control.
We went through a similar exercise with a two unit flat. Because the tenants were renting under a section 8 program, the unit was not covered by rent control. We were able to raise the rent to market rate, which meant the tenant was able to increase their voucher to $4K a month in this case, and they were able to take that voucher and find another place. In our case, they voluntarily moved out. We have since kept the unit vacant with no plans to rent it out again, and making it available for friends and family who visit San Francisco for vacation and want a free place to stay, or for our family who want to live in SF after college and saving up some money so they can buy a place somewhere.
Get yourself an attorney to handle the mechanics and get a good deal should you wish to evict. SF tenant-landlord regulations are nothing to mess with…
Marketplace does not understand San Francisco tenant laws, do they.
This bugs me. The new owner is probably within their legal rights to evict, but is it ethical? The people to evict are an older couple that dutifully paid their rent on time. They probably have roots in this city.
The landlord is not running a charity. At least, have a heart for your fellow human being.
Scott Freedman, an attorney at San Francisco-based law firm Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, told MarketWatch that since there is no lease, the unit is considered “illegal” under San Francisco law.
wow important misconception in the article, handshake leases ARE valid here. although the other issues cited could make it illegal.
Your easiest, quickest, and possibly cheapest option is going to be cash-for-keys. Just pay them to move out quietly and quickly.
Owner move in.
Edit: Never mind. She's out of state. So unless she has a qualified relative that's willing to move in, it's probably not an option.
I doubt these tenants will leave willfully. The fact that it's an illegal rental and still she's liable is a complete perversion of justice. This city needs to ease up on tenants rights. They are antithetical to the 5th amendment.
Just sell the place and save yourself from the liability.
A little bit off topic but what if SF find ways to help a tenant become an owner? Tenants tend to have little vested interest in maintaining and improving the property. And why should they? It’s not their property.
What if we spend half of the homeless budget to help a tenant become an owner if they want to stay? For example, the owner wants to sell their rent controlled tenant occupied property. The city steps in with the down payment and helps buy the house. By helping with the house purchase, the city gets a fraction of the capital gains if and when the tenant (new owner) sells. The mortgage will likely be longer than 30 years since the tenant probably can’t afford much more than their current rent, but the property is theirs and they get to pass it down or sell it for capital gains. This incentivizes maintenance and take the burden of low income housing away from private owners.
I’m not a finance person but there must be some smart economic scientists out there that can engineer a solution like this. Let’s improve the lives of all residences in this city. And stop putting renters against owners. If a tenant wants to live in SF for decades, give them to option to own their property.
Everybody's favorite debate, tenant rights vs landlord rights. Personally, my opinion is you inherit the property as well as the tenant. You can of course refuse the inheritance if you don't want to deal with the tenant.
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