San Francisco owner move-in eviction

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This question regards properties only in San Francisco. I am aware that it is a special market with the rent control etc. Still, insight would be appreciated.

This came up during discussion with friends in connection with various transactions (past and in process). But I am not the one in trouble, just trying to be informed and prepared.

If buying a single family home which have tenants living in it, the law seems to allow owner move-in evictions. Even for protected tenants (10+ years, disabled, over 60, etc.). The only really biting restriction is when there is a school aged minor in which case the eviction can occur only in the summer break! I note that the fact that the property is a single family home is very important. If there are more than 1 units in the building, there are draconian restrictions.

Now, the question is what happens if the single family home in question is rented to two tenants who are on separate leases? Probably the previous owner used to live there and rented out 1 or two rooms (maybe a floor) and when moved out rented the rest as well separately. The question in this case, whether this transformed the building into a multi-family or multi-unit rental property? Can the new owner evict both tenants and move in to occupy all the rooms? (The new owner may have a bigger family after all.)


Best advice is to consult with a landlord attorney in San Francisco.

Study your state codes. You will most likely not be restricted beyond what is already known regarding owner occupy eviction. It is the legal designation of the building type that is important not the number of leases.

The law allows buyers of SFHs to take occupancy of what was a rental.

You really need to discuss this with a SF Landlord-Tenant Rights Attorney. If you'd like a referral to the best one in the city, just shoot me an email or a PM. Single-family homes here are afforded the least protection outside of post-1978 new construction, but the legality of multiple leases for one unit is a pretty difficult situation. 

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