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Owner Move In (OMI) Evictions

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What Is an Owner Move in Eviction?

An owner move in eviction is an eviction of a residential tenant by an owner so that the owner can move into the unit.  Also see Landlord and Tenant Evictions.  There are many similar provisions that allow the owner's spouse, mother, father, or children to use owner move in evictions as well, but some cities have restricted these evictions.  Owner move in eviction requirements and procedures vary from city to city.  The city the rental unit is located is very important in determining the rights of the tenant and landlord. 

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

No.  Owner move in evictions can only occur if allowed by statute and usually occur in cities that have rent control and that require just cause evictions.  Not all cities that have rent control or that require just cause evictions have owner move in statutes, in which case the owner can only evict the tenant for just cause as provided by the local statute.  Periodic tenancies, such as a month to month tenancy, in cities that do not have rent regulation can be terminated with the proper amount of notice, for any reason.  The proper amount of notice depends on which city the rental unit is located and is usually 30 to 60 days.  If the lease is a term of years, for example a one year lease, then notice is usually not required, although some cities require notice from the owner of an intent not to renew the lease. 

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

The exact provisions an owner must follow vary from city to city.  Generally, for an owner to take advantage of the owner move in provision, the owner must: 

  • Own a certain percentage of the property (The percentage that must be owned varies from city to city and varies based on the date the property was purchased).
  • Intend to use the property as a primary residence for a certain length of time, usually 2-3 years.  The owner's intent must be honest and in good faith.  The owner cannot 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 2-3 years.
  • Provides notice to the tenant (varies by city, usually 30 to 60 days).
  • Offers the tenant any unit within the city that the owner has an interest when it becomes available (varies by city).
  • Relocation costs provided the tenant has lived on the premises a certain period of time, usually one year. (Relocation costs varies by city).
  • The tenant usually gets the first right to reoccupy once the landlord moves out (varies by city).

Are Owner Move In Evictions Ever Prohibited?

Yes, owner move in evictions are prohibited for certain reasons.  The reasons vary depending on which city the rental unit is located.  Generally, owner move in evictions are prohibited in multi unit building under the following circumstances:

  • Where the owner's interest in the property is less than that required by the owner move in statute (varies by city).  Generally an owner must have a 25% to 50% interest in the unit.
  • If the landlord owns an available comparable unit in the same city (varies by city).
  • If the tenant is over 60 years old and disabled and has lived there for more than 10 years  (varies by city).
  • If the tenant is over 60 years old and terminally ill and has lived there for more than 5 years (varies by city).
  • Generally only one owner move in eviction is allowed per building.  But multiple evictions are generally allowed in the same building for relatives if the owner lives in the building. 

Requirements an Owner Must Satisfy after Evicting the Tenant

After the tenant has moved out, there are certain requirements that the landlord must still meet.  Generally, the requirements are that the owner must:

  • Move into the unit within a certain period of time after the tenant has moved out, generally about 60 to 120 days (varies by city).
  • Use the unit as a principal place of residence.  Rent control ordinances usually allow a person to have only one principal place of residence.
  • Live in the unit for the required length of time, usually 2 -3 years.  If the owner moves out before this period, the owner generally cannot re-rent at a rate greater than what the evicted tenant was paying and must give the evicted tenant first choice to re-rent the unit. 

If the owner does not follow the requirements above (or any other requirements that the city statute may impose), the owner must offer the unit back to the evicted tenant first before attempting to rent to another tenant.  The tenant also has a cause of action for wrongful eviction.

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

Landlord tenant law is very complex, varies by city, and is constantly undergoing changes.  A real estate lawyer will be able to advise you of the exact rules your cities has regarding owner move in evictions and can protect your rights, whether you are an owner trying to utilize the owner move in eviction statute or a tenant fighting an owner move in eviction.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 03-12-2018 01:04 AM PDT

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