Law Offices of William E. Shapiro
649 Mission Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: (415) 678-9209
Fax: (415) 358-8515
There are only fourteen reasons why a landlord can evict a residential
tenant in San Francisco. Some of the reasons include:
Non-Payment of Rent
The most common reason for an attempted eviction is that the landlord says
that the tenant did not pay her rent. But before a landlord can evict for
that reason, he must first give the tenant three days notice that the rent
is past-due and to pay. In addition, there may be other defenses to a non-payment
eviction, such as defects in the condition of the unit or building.
Owner move-in is another example of a reason a landlord may try to use to evict
a residential tenant. For a valid owner move-in, a landlord has to comply
very carefully with the law. The landlord must give the tenant at least thirty
days written notice of her intent to move in. The notice must also advise
what other residential realty the landlord owns. The notice must also be
delivered with a $500.00 payment per tenant. The landlord must also pay $500.00
per tenant when the unit is turned over to him. There are other requirements
and restrictions as well.
The Ellis Act is also a way that landlords try to take back their units. The
Ellis Act is state law that says that a residential landlord may take an
entire building out of residential use. Again, there are strict requirements
that the landlord must meet before he can evict tenants under the Ellis Act.
Defending an Eviction Lawsuit
The key to the successful defense of an eviction lawsuit (called an unlawful
detainer) is to act early. A tenant hiring an attorney as soon as she gets
a Notice to Quit (a landlord's eviction notice) has the advantage of having
up to 30 days for her attorney to investigate the matter and, if appropriate,
try to settle the case before a lawsuit is filed by the landlord.
Regardless of the reason a landlord attempts to use to evict a tenant, the
first thing he must do is serve the tenant with a notice to move out. If the
tenant does not move out, the landlord must then file a lawsuit called an unlawful
detainer and serve a copy of the lawsuit on the tenant. The tenant then has
only five calendar days to respond to the lawsuit. If the tenant does not respond
on time and in the proper written manner, she can be evicted without ever getting
heard in court.
The response to a summons and complaint must be filed with the court. The response
must be either a properly drafted pleading (legal document) or a properly completed
form answer. A letter or phone call will not be enough.
People who are not experienced tenants' lawyers sometimes harm their
chances of winning their cases by simply filling out a form answer
at the court clerk's office. By doing so, they may give up many defenses
to the eviction lawsuit, such as that service of the summons and complaint
was not done in a legal manner. In addition, there are responses to
the complaint other than an answer, such as a demurrer or a motion
to strike, that may end the litigation early and also give the tenant's
attorney time to complete his investigation.
Once the tenant's lawyer files the response to the complaint, she
can then propound written discovery (send questions and requests for
documents to the landlord to be answered under penalty of perjury).
She can also require the landlord to appear in her office in person
and answer questions under oath regarding the case. This helps the
tenant's lawyer prepare a defense to the eviction lawsuit. The tenant
has a right to have the case heard by a judge, and if she wants, by
a jury. Trial by jury means that ordinary people get to hear the tenant's
story and decide who wins. Many tenants feel that this is better than
just having a judge hear the case.
Are you being evicted? Fight back by Contacting
Are you injured because of another person's carelessness
If your answer is "yes" then you may be able to recover for negligence.
What is negligence? Negligence is the breach of a duty of due care, by the
defendant, that is the actual and proximate cause of your injuries. Simply
put, if your injuries are caused by anther person's carelessness or recklessness,
then that person has to pay compensation for your injuries.
How does one prove another person was careless or reckless?
By presenting sufficient evidence to persuade the trier of fact that
your side of the story really happened. Contact Us and allow us to
present your story to the people who really count-the judge and jury.
What are some examples of carelessness or recklessness?
- Vehicle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites
Can "professionals" be held liable for their carelessness
Yes, professionals such as doctors, dentists, architects and even attorneys
can be held liable for providing professional services that fall below the
standard of care associated with their profession.
What are some examples of professional carelessness or recklessness?
- A doctor who administers an injection to the wrong patient
- A dentist who extracts a patient's wrong tooth
- An attorney who fails to file a client's complaint within the proscribed
Did another person intentionally cause your injuries?
If another person intentionally harms, disturbs or injures you, then you are
entitled to recover punitive damages along with your compensatory damages.
What are punitive damages? They are damages the court awards you because
of the defendant's willful, wanton or malicious conduct.
What are some examples of willful, wanton or malicious conduct?
- False imprisonment
Did you suffer an injury because of a defective consumer
California has strict laws protecting consumers from injury because of "defective
products." A product is any manufactured item such as toys, household
appliances, food products, prescription drugs, tools and cars. Further, a product
can be defective if it suffers from a design or manufacturing defect. A product
can also be defective if it has inadequate warnings as to the risk associated
with its use.
These types of cases require the presentation of expert testimony
to prove the consumer product was, in fact, defective. Contact
Us if you believe that you suffered an injury because
of a defective consumer product. We will investigate the facts supporting
your allegation, and where appropriate, we will retain qualified experts
to prove your case. We will never defer your right to just compensation
in favor of any defendant manufacturer, supplier or retailer.
Employment law covers the rights and obligations that sprout from an employer-employee
relationship. In other words, there are rules which govern
both you and your employer's conduct. For instance, you should know
that federal and state law forbids your employer from discriminating against
you because of:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
The law also forbids:
- Sexual harassment
- Your employer from firing you in violation of public policy
- Your employer from acting in a manner that effectively forces you
to resign (also know as "constructive discharge")
These are just a few examples of the types of discriminatory practices
prohibited by law. Contact Us if
you believe that your employer has discriminated against you, or, has
acted in a manner adversely affecting your employment.
San Francisco residents are all too familiar with the city's expensive cost
of living and its lack of affordable housing. The internet bubble of the
late 90's sent the cost of both commercial and residential real estate
though the roof. But despite recent economic woes, there still exists
a shortage of affordable housing that occasionally results in shady behavior
by greedy-minded landlords. In recognition of this, the firm routinely
represents commercial and residential tenants in unlawful detainer
What is an unlawful detainer proceeding?
An action in unlawful detainer is a summary proceeding which
allows a landlord to obtain possession of property occupied by a tenant
and to recover past due rent and other damages resulting from the tenant's
Why would a landlord commence an action in unlawful detainer?
An unlawful detainer action may be brought for several reasons,
including: non-payment of rent, failure of the tenant to perform conditions
of the lease or rental agreement, holding over after expiration of
the agreed term of the lease, and unlawful use of the premises.
Are there any defenses to an action in unlawful detainer?
Yes, there may be applicable defenses depending on the specific
facts of your case. Contact Us for
The firm represents individuals and small businesses in a variety of contract
and business tort disputes, including:
- Breach of Contract
- Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
- Tortious Interference with Contract
- Intentional/Negligent Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage
- Unfair Business Practices (Business & Professions Code § 17200)
- False Advertising (Business & Professions Code § 17500)
- Trade libel
Contact Us for more
information regarding contractual/ business tort disputes.