Owner Move In (OMI) Evictions

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 What Is an Owner Move in Eviction?

An eviction is a physical removal of a tenant and their possessions from their rented home or apartment. Both residential and commercial tenants may be evicted.

An eviction typically commences when a lease ends and the tenant refuses to leave the rental. Another way an eviction may begin is if a tenant fails to pay their rent and the landlord orders them to vacate the premises.

The laws of each state outline very detailed requirements to end a tenancy. These requirements often differ by state. 

In addition, there are different termination notices which are required for different situations. In addition, each state typically has different procedures regarding how a termination notice is to be given and what eviction documents must be delivered.

One specific type of eviction which may occur is the eviction of a residential tenant by the owner so that the owner is able to move into the unit. There may also be similar provisions which permit other individuals related to the owner to utilize owner move in evictions. These other individuals may include the owner’s:

  • Spouse;
  • Mother;
  • Father; or
  • Children.

It is important to note, however, that some cities have restricted these evictions. In addition, the requirements for an owner move in eviction vary by city. The city in which a rental unit is located is very important in determining what rights the tenant and the landlord have.

Do All Owners Who Want to Move into Their Rented Unit Have to Follow Owner Move in Statutes?

No, not all owners who want to move into their rented units do not have to follow owner move in statutes. Pursuant to owner move in eviction laws, an owner move in eviction may only occur if they are permitted by statute. 

Owner move in evictions typically occur in cities which have rent control and require just cause evictions. Not all cities which have rent control or that require a just cause eviction have owner move in statutes.

In cities that do not have these statutes, the owner may only evict a tenant for just cause as provided by the local statute. A periodic tenancy, which includes month to month tenancies, in cities which do not have rent control may be terminated with the proper amount of notice for any reason.

The proper amount of notice will depend on the city in which the rental unit is located. Typically, proper notice is between 30 and 60 days. 

If a lease term is in years, such as a one year lease, notice is not typically required. However, some cities require that the owner provide notice to the tenant of their intent not to renew the lease.

What Requirements Must the Landlord Satisfy to Successfully Complete an Owner Move in Eviction?

There are certain requirements that a landlord must satisfy in order to successfully complete an owner move in eviction. The exact requirements vary by city. However, typically, for in order for an owner to take advantage of an owner move in provision, the owner is required to:

  • Own a certain percentage of the property. The percentage that must be owned varies by city and varies based on the date the property was purchased;
  • Have the intent to use the property as a primary residence for a certain length of time, typically  2 to 3 years.  The intent must be honest and in good faith.  The owner is not permitted to have ulterior motives for the eviction, such as re-renting the unit for more money;
  • Use the unit as a primary residence for a certain length of time, usually 2 to 3 years;
  • Provide notice to the tenant. The time frame varies by city, but is typically 30 to 60 days;
  • Offer the tenant any unit within the city that the owner has an interest when it becomes available. This also varies by city; 
  • Provide the tenant with relocation costs if they have lived on the premises a certain period of time, typically one year. Relocation costs will vary by city; and
  • Provide the tenant with  the first right to reoccupy once the landlord moves out. 

An owner move in eviction notice is the document which the landlord provides to the tenant to notify them of the move in. The requirements for these notices vary by city. 

For example, in San Francisco, the landlord is required to give the tenant a 60 day notice. The move in notice must provide the following information:

  • The reason the landlord is terminating the tenancy, which is that the landlord or their relative will be moving in;
  • Who will be moving in;
  • Where the individual who will be moving in currently resides;
  • Their ownership interest in the property; and
  • Their ownership interest in other properties.

In addition, this notice is required to be filed with the San Francisco Rent Board. It is not sufficient for the landlord to provide a verbal warning or a letter stating an intent to move in. 

In San Francisco, if the landlord fails to provide proper notice to the tenant, the tenant may refuse to vacate the rental as well as challenge the eviction attempt in court. If a tenant prevails, the landlord will be required to provide a new 60 day notice.

Are Owner Move in Evictions Ever Prohibited?

Yes, there are situations in which owner evictions are prohibited for certain reasons. These reasons may vary depending upon which city the rental unit is located in. 

Typically, owner move in evictions are prohibited in multi-unit buildings in the following situations:

  • When the owner’s interest in the property is less than the amount which is required by the owner move in statute. This amount varies by city. Typically, an owner is required to have a 25% to 50% interest in the unit;
  • When the landlord owns a comparable unit in the same city that is available. This requirement varies by city; 
  • When a tenant is over 60 year of age, is disabled, and has lived there for more than 10 years. This requirement varies by city;
  • When a tenant is over 60 years of age, is terminally ill, and has lived there for more than 5 years. This term may vary by city; and
  • In most cases, typically only one owner move in eviction is permitted per building. However, multiple evictions are typically permitted in the same building for relatives if the owner resides in the building. 

What are the Requirements an Owner Must Satisfy after Evicting the Tenant?

There are certain requirements a landlord must fulfill after a tenant has moved out. In general, the owner is required to:

  • Move into the unit within a certain period of time after the tenant moves out, typically about 60 to 120 days, which varies by city;
  • Use the unit as their principal place of residence. Rent control ordinances often allow an individual to have only one principal place of residence;
  • Reside in the unit for the required length of time, typically 2 -3 years. If an owner moves out before this period, they generally are not permitted to re-rent the unit at a rate higher than what the evicted tenant was paying and they are required to provide the evicted tenant with the first choice to re-rent the unit. 

If an owner does not satisfy the requirements discussed above, or any other requirements which the statutes in a city may impose, the owner must offer the unit to the evicted tenant first before attempting to re-rent the unit to another tenant. The evicted tenant may also have a cause of action for wrongful eviction.

Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer for an Owner Move in Eviction?

It is essential to have the assistance of a landlord tenant lawyer for any owner move in eviction issues you may be facing. Landlord-tenant laws can be very complex as well as vary by city. 

These laws are also constantly changing and being updated. Your lawyer can advise you regarding the rules of your city regarding an owner move in eviction. 

Your lawyer can also help protect your rights during an owner move in eviction, whether you are the owner trying to use the statute or the tenant who is fighting an owner move in eviction. Having a lawyer on your side ensures that the process is completely smooth and in accordance with the law.

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