If a tenant believes an eviction or attempted eviction is in violation of the Rent Ordinance, the tenant may file a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction on a form available from the Rent Board. The Board will then send a notice to the landlord acknowledging receipt of the tenant’s report and summarizing the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant regarding the eviction. The Board will also request a written response from the landlord to the tenant’s allegation of wrongful eviction.
It should be noted that the filing of a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction with the Rent Board does NOT prevent the landlord from pursuing an eviction through the courts. Tenants are strongly advised to obtain legal counsel.
The Rent Board staff will investigate a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction to determine if there is evidence of any of the following:
- whether the landlord is evicting more than one tenant at approximately the same time;
- whether the eviction is in retaliation for a dispute arising from a tenant’s exercise of his or her rights under the Ordinance;
- whether a dispute over the proper interpretation of the Ordinance is involved;
- whether the eviction was effected by fraud or in bad faith; or
- whether a policy issue of city-wide importance is raised.
If any of these criteria are met and there is evidence of an unlawful eviction, the matter may be scheduled for an investigatory hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will prepare a summary of the evidence for the consideration of the Rent Board Commissioners. The Commissioners may decide to hold additional hearings, to commence legal action against the landlord, to make a referral to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution, or to take no further action.
If no evidence of an unlawful eviction is found after the investigation of a Report of Alleged Wrongful Eviction, the tenant will be so informed and the case will be closed.
Source: San Francisco Rent Board