In many rent-controlled cities, landlords and property owners are required to provide proper justification in order to evict existing tenants. These “Just Cause” eviction laws are meant to keep tenants secure against at-will removal from rented units, but can sometimes cause issues and complications for landlords.
San Diego is one city that has implemented “Just Cause” laws. Given the rent control laws that are in place, landlords may often find it difficult to remove tenants, even when the cause is clearly apparent. Despite what is often viewed as difficult to identify, these justifiable causes can be found within the city’s housing law, so as to assist landlords in removing subpar tenants. The items listed below are exceptions to the current “just cause” laws, and provide landlords justifiable grounds to evict tenants in the San Diego rental market.
- The Tenant is in Violation of the Leasing Agreement
This is the most apparent grounds for eviction in San Diego, as a breach of any provision of the leasing agreement can be used as just cause. For landlords, this means they should have a clear understanding of what they allow and disallow in renting out their units, so they can identify any potential violation of the tenant-landlord agreement.
By working with local San Diego property management companies, landlords can work with experts in creating a leasing agreement that protects their investment, and ensure tenants abide by the required guidelines.
- The Landlord or Family Member is Looking to Move into the Occupied Property or Unit
Another justification for evicting a tenant in San Diego is on the grounds that the landlord, or an otherwise immediate family member, wants to move into the property or unit. In this case, immediate family members include the landlord’s spouse, parents, grandparents, children, siblings, or grandchildren. If either the relative or landlord wants to occupy the property, this is justifiable cause for eviction of the existing tenant.
- Tenant’s Refusal to Renew Leasing Agreement with Same Terms as the Expired One
Upon the expiration of the most recent leasing agreement, the tenant must agree to the same terms and conditions which were outlined in the expired agreement. If they refuse to renew the lease under the same provisions, this is just cause to evict the tenant.
- Refusing Entry to Landlord After Written Request has Been Made to Tenant
A landlord has justification to evict a tenant if the tenant refuses to allow entry to the property owner after receiving a formal written request. This request must be made on reasonable grounds, such as access to make repairs, as a means of inspection, or otherwise stated in the lease agreement.
- Landlord is Looking to Undergo Substantial Remodeling of Property or Unit
The property owner has justification to evict an existing tenant, given they are undergoing the process of a substantial remodel. However, in order to uphold this cause in a legal setting, the landlord must provide proof that the process has started, by presenting the relevant permit(s) as granted by the city of San Diego.
- Landlord has Begun Process to Convert Apartment Complex into Condominium Complex
Similar to the substantial remodeling cause, landlords have justification for eviction if they have begun the process of converting their apartment units into condominiums. Property owners must provide evidence that the conversion process has begun, generally through application or receipt of required permit(s), for the cause to be legally upheld.
- Permanent Removal of Property or Unit from being Leased
If a landlord plans to permanently remove their property or units from the rental market, they have just cause for eviction of the current tenants. Under the Ellis Act, property owners have the right to remove their rentals from the market, and cannot be forced to continue leasing their units if they no longer in desire to do so. To invoke this cause legally, landlords must give tenants a 120-day notice of eviction, or 12-month notice if the tenant is a senior citizen.
- Tenant is Using the Property in an Illegal Manner
In the case that a tenant is using the property in an illegal way, the landlord or property owner has just cause to terminate the lease and evict the occupant(s). One example of illegal property use is if the tenant is found dealing drugs on the premises. If a landlord determines that this is occurring, it gives them grounds to evict the tenant from the unit.
- Tenant is the Cause of Substantial Nuisance while Leasing
When it comes to the concept of nuisance in regards to tenants, landlords have another exception in bypassing the “just cause” eviction laws. A nuisance is generally encompassed in severe damages caused to the property by the occupant, or if he/she is causing an interference in the lifestyles and safety of other tenants.