Common Questions

Know Your Rights.

Hooshmand Law Group is dedicated to protecting tenants in the Bay Area and empowering tenants with knowledge and strategies to resolve their housing disputes.  We relentlessly pursue compensation for clients who were wrongfully evicted or damaged as a result of negligence by landlords.  Work with our experienced, persevering attorneys to get the maximum result.

Every day our attorneys provide recommendations to tenants in San Francisco, Oakland, and other Bay Area cities.  Call us to schedule a phone consultation or submit your questions online through our website and our attorneys will respond via email or phone depending on your preference.

  1. I live in an illegal unit. Do I have tenant’s rights?
  2. My landlord is trying to evict me from an in-law unit, basement, garage, or illegal apartment. Do I have to move?
  3. How do I know if my unit is illegal?
  4. I received a 60-Day Notice to vacate because the Owner or Owner’s Relative wants to move into my unit. What happens now?
  5. My lease is up. Do I have to move?
  6. What is Rent Control?
  7. What does having “Just Cause” to evict mean?
  8. How do I know if I should pursue a lawsuit and How should I Choose a Law Firm?

Common Questions from Tenants:

  1. I live in an illegal unit. Do I have tenant’s rights?

Yes, you have rights including suing to recover your rent payments.  The law provides that no rent is owed for the rental of an unpermitted illegal in-law unit (Gruzen v. Henry, Carter v. Cohen) though it is important to talk with an attorney regarding these issues.

  1. My landlord is trying to evict me from an in-law unit, basement, garage, or illegal apartment. Do I have to move?

It all depends.  If you have received an eviction notice, a 60 day notice to vacate, a buyout offer, or a copy of a citation or inspection report from the Dept. of Building Inspection let us know so we can review your case with you for free. Also, you may be entitled to the opportunity to move back into the unit if the landlord plans to legalize it.

  1. How do I know if my unit is illegal?

Telltale signs you live in an in law unit include:

  •             No separate mail
  •             No fixed heat (being connected to the upstairs doesn’t count)
  •             Only one way in and out of the unit
  •             You live in or behind a garage
  •             No permits on file with the building department for the addition of kitchen or bath to your unit
  1. I received a 60-Day Notice to vacate because the Owner or Owner’s Relative wants to move into my unit. What happens now?

You should contact an attorney to review your OMI (Owner Move In) notice and eviction for free.  If you believe your landlord did not move in, we will conduct an investigation at no cost to you (costs only recoverable from a settlement or judgment). We are one of the only firms who has taken OMI violations to trial with success and we have recorded one of the highest single tenant settlements for a wrongful eviction at $1 million dollars. We are dedicated to helping tenants and it is our goal to protect housing.

If you have moved and suspect that your landlord rented your apartment to a new tenant instead of moving in please give us a call to discuss your options.  San Francisco 37.9(a)(8) / SFRO 37.9B set forth key rules regarding owner move in evictions and San Francisco Admin Code 37.10 regarding Tenant Harassment prohibits landlords from forcing tenants to leave in bad faith.

  1. My lease is up. Do I have to move?

Rent-controlled tenants can remain in their units unless the landlord has one of limited grounds (“just causes”) to evict (SFRO 37.9). Therefore, just because your written lease is ending is not a reason to move.

If you are in a rent-controlled apartment and your landlord tells you to move, you don’t have to move.  In fact if a landlord pressures you to move or tells you you have to move, then they have violated the Rent Ordinance. Also if you have a one year lease, you retain the right to possession even after the lease ends.

Because San Francisco has rent control, landlords attempt to find ways to regain possession whether by telling the tenant to leave or taking other steps to regain possession in violation of the Rent Ordinance.  If the unit is rent-controlled the only way a landlord can regain possession is if the tenant voluntarily leaves or if the landlord has one of the limited reasons to regain possession such as non-payment of rent or other violations.

  1. What is Rent Control?

Rent Control is a limitation on raising rent and evictions meant to implement a social policy of protecting tenancies since housing is one of the basic necessities of life. With a place to call home, you can plan your day and have a basis for some certainty. Rent control was implemented to provide some stability for housing in San Francisco enabling tenants in apartments built before 1979 (with exceptions) to remain in the apartment even if the lease has expired. A series of rules were implemented around rent control to promote its goals. Rent control is a social policy and not an economic policy and while there is no perfect solution rent control has greatly advanced its policies. There are two main aspects of rent control – limited yearly rent increases and restricting the permissible reasons to evict a tenant. The limited reasons are known as “just cause” evictions. As a result of these limited reasons, landlords attempt to find ways to circumvent these rules resulting in a wrongful eviction. It is important to note that in San Francisco, as long as the “landlord endeavors to recover possession” in violation of the law, they have violated the Rent Ordinance.

  1. What does having “Just Cause” to evict mean?

Pursuant to San Francisco Admin Code 37.9, Landlords can only evict rent-controlled tenants for limited reasons/causes meaning they need a “just cause” (one of these reasons) to evict.  Also, a landlord must go through the legal process to evict tenants by filing paperwork with the Court and serving copies of the paperwork upon the tenant.  Lockouts or pressure to move are not allowed.

Contact Hooshmand Law Group for a free analysis of your eviction or if the landlord is trying to harass you into moving.

Common Wrongful Evictions:

  •             Lock Out
  •             Telling Tenants their Lease is up and they have to move
  •             Pressuring the tenant to move
  •             Fraudulent Owner Move In Eviction
  •             Retaliatory eviction (retaliating against the tenant’s exercise of rights)
  •             Selling the Property (simply because a landlord is selling is not a reason to have to move)
  1. How do I know if I should pursue a lawsuit and How should I Choose a Law Firm?

Lawyers are like any other business. There are some very good lawyers as well as lawyers at every tier. When talking with lawyers it is important to understand their strategy and also to determine if they are willing to take the case to trial if it is necessary. While most cases settle, if an attorney is not willing to take a case all the way to trial then they are not recovering the fair value for their client. Hooshmand Law Group prepares every case as if it will go to trial on the off chance it goes to trial. Opposing law firms and insurance companies know our reputation which results in a higher settlement.  While most cases settle not every case settles but we work toward a resolution. We also are highly respected by opposing counsel and they know we have the resources to do everything we can to win our cases.