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San Francisco Wrongful Eviction Attorneys
Wrongful Eviction Attorneys in San Francisco, CA
One of the most important responsibilities of a tenant is to abide by the tenancy rules enforced by the landlord. Failure to do so may lead to termination of the tenancy contract and eviction. Evictions allow landlords to remove unruly tenants, as well as those who don’t pay their rent on time. However, wrongful eviction can also occur, If you think you’ve been wrongfully evicted, a California wrongful eviction attorney might help.
The reasons for eviction will vary based on the type of rental property, the terms of the lease or rental agreement, and the eviction laws in your state.
Eviction laws may vary from state-to-state. A landlord can’t evict a tenant without a valid reason that is legally recognized by the state in which the rental property is situated. In California, a landlord usually evicts a tenant either for violating the lease or rental agreement or failing to pay rent. Usually, the landlord is not allowed to take measures in his or her own hands (self-help eviction). He or she can legally remove the tenant by following state eviction procedures.
At Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C., we have extensive experience in solving landlord-tenant disputes. Whether you are a landlord evicting a tenant or a tenant facing eviction, it is advisable to consult our competent San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyers to help you know and understand the basics of an eviction process. Call us at 415-562-0504 to get legal help with landlord-tenant issues today.
Eviction Notices in California
Before a landlord can start the eviction process, they must give the tenant a written notice stating the cause of the eviction and requiring them to leave the property within the time frame given by state law. As a tenant, if you refuse to move out even after receiving the notice, then your landlord will be forced to file an eviction lawsuit which is also known as forcible entry and detainer lawsuit.
The landlord must abide by the rules as to how and when the tenant is given notice. A credible wrongful eviction attorney in San Francisco can help determine whether your landlord served an eviction notice in compliance with state law.
Notice for Nonpayment of Rent
One of the most common reasons for eviction is the nonpayment of rent. If you fail to pay the rent on time, your landlord will give you a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. If you will not pay the rent or move out within the given three-day period, then your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
Notice of Lease Violation
A tenant can also be evicted by the landlord for violating the lease or rental agreement. When you violate any of the rental or lease agreement terms, your landlord can serve you with a cure or quit notice. In this case, you’ll be given a certain notice period (usually 3 days) to “cure”, fix the problem, or correct the violation. Failure to do so might lead to an eviction lawsuit.
In addition, if you’re engaged in serious illegal activity on the premises (such as drug dealing or violating zoning agreements), your landlord can give you an unconditional three-day notice to quit. This notice informs you that you must move out of the rental unit within three days of receiving it. In this case, a tenant must vacate the premises without the opportunity to cure the violation or pay the rent.
Eviction Defenses for Tenants
Depending on the circumstances, tenants might have several reasons why they shouldn’t be evicted. One of the most common defenses is that the landlord did not follow all the rules when terminating the tenancy. This is why both landlords and tenants have to be very careful with the eviction process.
A tenant or renter can look into any mistakes in the eviction notice, improper delivery, or an attempt to delay or dismiss the case. A reliable San Francisco eviction attorney can provide legal assistance in preparing all possible defense of tenants. It is important to ensure that you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant to avoid any legal action that can be taken against you.
Landlord Attempts a “Self-Help” Eviction
In California, the only way a landlord can legally evict a tenant is by going through the courts and winning an eviction lawsuit or unlawful detainer suit. Even though the landlord is entitled to repossess the property, the landlord cannot remove the tenant without the assistance of a law enforcement officer.
If a landlord attempts a “self-help” eviction, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages. A self-help eviction occurs when a landlord retakes possession of the rental property without following the proper eviction process. The use of self-help is equivalent to landlord harassment. Most states prohibit a landlord from using self-help to evict a tenant. If you’re facing this type of eviction, do not hesitate to seek legal help from a qualified San Francisco wrongful eviction attorney to help you fight against a self-help eviction case.
Here are the following self-help methods that must not be done by the landlord:
- Changing the locks
- Removing the tenant’s property from the rental unit
- Getting utility companies to cut off service by failing to pay the bill
- Ordering the tenant to leave
- Threatening or harassing the tenant
The Landlord Evicts a Tenant Illegally
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by California law when evicting a tenant. Evictions often occur very quickly, with the result that a tenant will lose his or her home. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that you’ll have enough time to find a new place to live.
When a landlord wrongfully evicts a tenant, a wrongful eviction lawsuit can be filed to protect the tenant’s rights. In most cases, a landlord ignores the rules and laws and takes matters into their own hands. Sometimes, the landlord harasses the tenant until they leave. Even if you failed to pay rent, damaged the property, or violated the lease agreement, the landlord may only legally evict you through the established state eviction procedures.
Landlord Did Not Maintain the Rental Unit
A rental unit must be maintained by the landlord according to a set of standards. If your landlord has not met the responsibility of keeping your unit in a livable condition, you might be able to stop paying any rent to the landlord until the repairs are made. A tenant may want to withhold all or part of the rent, depending on the seriousness of the violations. This is called “rent withholding.”
Rent withholding is the most direct way that you can force your landlord to make repairs. If you comply with the law in withholding rent, and your landlord evicts you for your nonpayment of rent, then you may defend yourself against the eviction case by using your landlord’s failure to maintain the rental unit.
The Tenant Paid Rent in Full
Before filing an eviction lawsuit, a landlord is required to give you a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. If you’ll be able to pay the rent within three days, then your landlord must not pursue the eviction case.
In case your landlord proceeds with the eviction, a time-stamped receipt can be your proof that you’ve paid the rent within the three-day notice. It means that you have paid your rent within the given period. Your payment receipt can be used as your defense against illegal eviction.
The Landlord Discriminates against the Tenant
According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, a landlord must not discriminate against a tenant based on gender, race, nationality, religion, familial status, and disability. Furthermore, the Fair Employment and Housing Act of California protects against discrimination based on gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, medical condition, marital status, and age.
If a landlord tries to evict a tenant based on these prejudices, then the tenant can use discrimination as a defense to the eviction case. A seasoned San Francisco wrongful eviction attorney can help you prepare your defense plan to win your case.
The Landlord Evicts Tenant for Violating the Lease Agreement
If you fail to pay rent, break rules, or significantly damage the property, then it is considered a breach of contract and grounds for eviction. Before filing an eviction lawsuit, your landlord is expected to give you three days to fix a lease violation. If you’re able to fix it within the given period, your landlord must not continue with the eviction.
If the landlord proceeds with the eviction anyway, the tenant can use proof that the violation was corrected within the appropriate time frame as a defense to the eviction case.
Facing Wrongful Eviction in California? Call our Wrongful Eviction Attorney
Fighting an eviction lawsuit can be challenging and time-consuming for both landlords and tenants. As a tenant, you need to watch out for any signs that might lead to a wrongful eviction. You can sue your landlord for illegally trying to evict you—however, you need both the law and the facts to be on your side to fight and win.
If you’re facing a wrongful eviction, schedule a consultation with our experienced San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyers at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners to make sure you have a good eviction case and get legal advice on how to proceed.
Our San Francisco real estate law firm will help you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, devise a defense plan against a wrongful eviction, fight for you, and help you win your case. Consult our wrongful eviction attorney to get legal help with your wrongful eviction case today.
Real Solutions for Real Estate Problems
Real Solutions for Real Estate Problems
“The truth is, 99 percent of cases do not go to trial. The two sides eventually come to an agreement and settle. We know this from the thousands of cases we have handled. Therefore, we critically analyze our client’s situation to see if we can help them find an agreement earlier rather than later. The difference will mean enormous savings in time and legal fees.
We will do everything in our power to successfully resolve your landlord-tenant case or real estate dispute in as little time as possible. We have the resources to take on complex real estate cases and the size to keep you from becoming more than just a case file.”
Steven Adair MacDonald
& Partners, P.C.
& Partners, P.C.
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