Owner Move-In Evictions

Understanding The Owner Move-In Eviction in San Jose, CA


Owner Move-In Eviction

What is an Owner Move-In Eviction?


A property owner who wants to move into their rental unit is permitted to withdraw their rental property from the rental market, if they so choose.  However, current eviction laws have severely limited when and how an owner can do so legally.  Any misstep can be costly to an owner, and a property owner must follow the eviction process.


In San Jose, California, the local ordinance known as the Tenant Protection Act (TPO) dictates how an owner can proceed with an owner move-in eviction.  The TPO supersedes California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which governs owner move-in evictions only if a governing local ordinance does not exist.


What are the Requirements for an Owner Move-in Eviction?


In order to proceed with an owner move-in eviction, the owner must meet the requirements of San Jose Ordinance Code Section §17.23.1250.  The requirements are as follows:


A. Good Faith


The owner must seek to move into the rental property in good faith, honest intent, and without ulterior motive.  This requirement is intended to prevent owners from evicting tenants on the pretext of removing the property from the rental market just to raise rent or get new tenants without just cause, as required by the law.


B. Owner or Close Relative


In order to qualify, the owner of the rental property must own at least a fifty (50) percent interest in the property.


The person moving in can either be the owner him or herself or an “authorized family member.”  An authorized family member can be the owner’s spouse, domestic partner, parent(s), child or children, brother(s), or sister(s).


C. 36-Month Required Time


The owner or close relative must move and reside at the rental property for at least 36 consecutive months, and he or she must move in within three months of the tenant vacating the premises. 


If the owner or an authorized family member for whom the tenant was evicted does not move into the rental unit within three months or does not occupy the rental unit as his or her principal residence for at least thirty-six (36) consecutive months, there is a rebuttable presumption that the owner acted in bad faith.


D. Relocation Assistance


In addition to the time requirement, the owner is required to provide Relocation Assistance, as required by Subsection B of Section 17.23.1250.


Subsection B of Section 17.23.1250 states that the Relocation Assistance amount an owner must pay equal the Base Assistance required by the Ellis Act Ordinance.  The Relocation Assistance required by the Ellis Act Ordinance is as follows (2022):


  Studio One-Bedroom Two-Bedroom Three-Bedroom
Base Assistance $6,925 $8,400 $10,353 $12,414
Qualified Assistance $2,770 $3,360 $4,141 $4,966
Total Assistance $9,695 $11,760 $14,494 $17,380


E. Notice ReQuirement


Owners are, also, required to give notice to the tenant as proscribe under §17.23.1260.  If the tenant has resided in the unit for over one year, a 60-day termination notice is required; if the tenant has resided in the unit for under one year, a 30-day termination notice is required.


The Notice of Termination provided to a tenant must include one of the listed “just causes,” in accordance with subsection A of Section 17.23.1250.  An “Owner Move-In” is one of the listed just causes of termination and it must be stated in the notice given to the tenant, as the reason for the eviction.


In addition, owners of property located in the City of San Jose must also include a copy of the TPO Required Posting and a copy of Resources and References to the tenant(s) (in addition to the eviction notice)


E. Notice to the City of San Jose


The local City of San Jose statute also requires an owner to give a true and accurate copy of any Notice of Termination delivered to a tenant, to the City of San Jose, within 3 days of delivering such notice to a tenant.  A copy can be uploaded via the City of San Jose’s Notice Portal.


And if an owner pursues an eviction lawsuit, the owner must also give to the City of San Jose a true and accurate copy of any summons and complaint delivered to a tenant, within 3 days of delivering such summons and complaint.  A copy can be uploaded via the City of San Jose’s Notice Portal.


What are the penalties for a violation of an Owner Move-In Eviction?


All types of evictions, by statute, are procedurally very strict.  An owner who violates any provision for an owner move-in eviction can have their case end prematurely.  This is because any violation is an affirmative defense, that will end the case.  The owner might also be liable for any actual damages, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees associated with the wrongful displacement of a tenant.


In addition, if there is a willful failure to comply with the requirements, damages are tripled, and the owner may be found guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine for a first offense and up to a $1000 fine for any subsequent offenses.