Under the just cause eviction provisions of the Rent Ordinance, a landlord may recover possession of a rental unit if the landlord seeks in good faith and without ulterior motive to temporarily remove the unit from housing use in order to carry out capital improvements or rehabilitation work, and the premises will be hazardous, unhealthy and/or uninhabitable while the work is in progress (see Topic No. 206 for more information about evictions).
Any tenant who vacates the unit under such circumstances shall have the right to reoccupy the unit at the prior rent adjusted in accordance with the Rent Ordinance. The tenant will vacate the unit only for the minimum time required to do the work, not to exceed three months, unless the time period is extended by the Rent Board pursuant to a landlord’s Petition for Extension of Time to Complete Capital Improvements.
If the landlord knows or should know that the work will require the removal of the tenant(s) for more than three months, the landlord must file a Petition for Extension of Time at the Rent Board before giving the notice to vacate to the tenants. The landlord must obtain all the necessary permits on or before the date upon which the notice to vacate is given.
If, after the notice has been given or the work has commenced, it becomes apparent that the work will take longer than three months (or longer than the time approved by the Rent Board in a prior Petition for Extension of Time), the landlord must immediately file a Petition for Extension of Time along with a statement explaining why the work will take more time than originally anticipated.
The Rent Board will schedule a hearing on the landlord’s petition to determine whether the landlord has delayed in seeking the extension and the reasonableness of the landlord’s estimated time to complete the work. It is helpful if the contractor or other project manager appears as a witness at the hearing. The Rent Board may grant or deny an application for an extension of time, or may approve a shorter period of time, based upon the consideration of the facts of each case.
A landlord’s petition for extension of time to complete capital improvements must include copies of all necessary Building and Planning Department permits, including electrical and plumbing permits if applicable, showing the date approval was granted; a written breakdown of the proposed work, detailing where the work will be done and the cost for major items; a written statement, with supporting evidence, describing whether all of the work is necessary to meet state or local requirements concerning the safety or habitability of the building, or whether any of the work is elective in nature; a description of any mitigation offered by the landlord to address the hardship imposed on the tenant(s) other than the required relocation expenses; and, if applicable, a detailed statement of why the work will take longer than originally anticipated.
To obtain a copy of the Petition for Extension of Time to Complete Capital Improvements form, click here. The form is also available at the Rent Board’s office.
Tags: Topic 327