Real Estate Resources

California law allows a rental property owner to remove all tenants from a building and get out of the apartment rental business. The law, known as the Ellis Act and enacted in 1986, prohibits local governments from compelling the owner of residential real property to continue to offer accommodations for rent.

The Ellis Act was amended in 1999 (SB 948). Among the changes that took effect on January 1, 2000 are:

 

  • The period that accommodations that are offered again for rent after removal from the market are subject to rent controls (if applicable) was extended to 2 years
  • A specified notice and conditions will apply to tenants age 62 or older, and disabled tenants, if they have lived in the accommodations for at least one year.
  • An Increase in the notice period for the notice of intent to withdraw from the market to the local government to 120 days

San Francisco Rent Ordinance and Rules and Regulations require that owners must follow certain procedures if they are going to evict tenants so that they can go out of the rental housing business. These include:

 

  • Owners must file their intent to withdraw the units with the Rent Board;
  • Notice of withdrawal must be recorded on title;
  • Units offered for re-rental must be offered at the old rent plus any allowable increases;
  • Evicted tenants have first right of refusal to re-rent if the tenants keep the owner apprised of their mailing address;
  • Payments must be made to elderly and disabled tenants displaced as the result of an "Ellis Act" eviction;
  • Violation of these regulations could subject the owner to payment for actual and punitive damages;
  • The City may institute civil proceedings for violations of these provisions

For further information about the Ellis Act as it applies to San Francisco, please see the Rent Board's website.

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