Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C.
San Francisco Office
220 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
1901 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94612
San Francisco Personal Injury
Bracamontes & Vlasak is one of the few law firms in California representing only tenants in its landlord-tenant practice. We never represent landlords. In the Bay Area, rent ordinances in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and East Palo Alto protect tenants from eviction and/or unlawful rent increase. Call us at 415.835.6777 if you are a tenant treated unfairly by your landlord.
The concept of constructive eviction in California landlord-tenant law is that when conditions in the unit are so deplorable that no reasonable person could tolerate and/or jeopardize their well-being by continuing to live there, they are caused to vacate the premises because of the conditions.
From the seminal case of Stoiber v. Honeychuck, 101 Cal. App. 3d 903, 926 (1980):
A landlord is liable for constructive eviction where a tenant elects to vacate the premises as a result of the landlord’s “[f]ailure to repair and keep the premises in a condition suitable for the purposes for which they were leased. The damages recoverable for constructive eviction include “the value of the term, less the rent reserved,” “expenses for removal,” “damages . . . for mental anguish,” and “exemplary” or punitive damages. Id.
Many times in rent-controlled jurisdictions it is a tactic of the landlord, real estate agents, or management companies to indirectly attempt to force tenants out of long-standing rent-controlled units by refusing to make basic repairs such that the unit becomes uninhabitable and the tenants get fed up and vacate “voluntarily.” Unfortunately, often times this can work and tenants give up rent-controlled tenancies worth tens of thousands of dollars (or more), because of the landlord’s intentional neglect. Then the tenants cannot afford market rate comparable units and the landlords profit by raising the subject unit to market rate rent.
In these cases, BV Law holds the landlord completely liable for habitability violations and attempted wrongful eviction. Tenants in these cases are entitled to rent differential damages and other damages noted above. Further, trebled damages and attorney’s fees may be available in constructive eviction cases under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance: San Francisco Admin Code § 37.10B(c)(5).
If you have been the victim of constructive eviction from a Bay Area rent-controlled tenancy, contact an experienced tenant’s attorney at BV Law today to learn your rights and how to be made whole. You can also schedule a free initial consultation by phone at 415.835.6777.
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