Eviction Protection for Minors?

Eviction Protection for Minors?

Is a Minor child considered a “Tenant” of my rental unit?

            No, pursuant to the general definition of a Tenant set forth in section 37.2(t) of the Rent Ordinance, minor children are not “Tenants.”

Do Minors have any rights while residing in rental units subject to the San Francisco Rent Ordinance?

            Yes.  Section 37.9(a)(2)(B) of the Rent Ordinance protects children, and other family members (parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother or sister, spouse or domestic partner) from being unreasonably refused as additional occupants of a rental unit, so long as the addition of the family member does not result in exceeding the maximum number of occupants authorized by the Rent Ordinance.  Likewise, the Rent Ordinance prohibits a Landlord from increasing the rent based on the addition of a family member as an occupant of a rental unit, unless the Lease provisions state otherwise.  Minor children are generally lawful occupants of a rental unit, and are entitled to protections for “occupants” under the Rent Ordinance. 

Is a Minor who is displaced by an Ellis Act eviction a Tenant entitled to a Relocation Payment under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance? 

            No.  Pursuant to the California Court of Appeal’s recent holding in Danger Panda LLC v. Nancy Ann Launiu, a Minor cannot be considered a “Tenant” within the definition of the Rent Ordinance and, therefore, is not entitled to Ellis Act Eviction relocation benefits.  The Court reasoned that because a minor does not have the ability to enter into a rental contract or incur an independent obligation to pay rent, a minor cannot acquire a legal right to occupy a rental unit at the exclusion of others which is required in the definition of “Tenant” in the Rent Ordinance.  This does not mean that a minor child cannot be a lawful occupant, but rather that the minor’s right to occupy is a derivative of the parents or guardians.  The Danger Panda case was the first time this issue has been heard by the Court of Appeal, and it is possible that the Rent Ordinance may be amended to address this issue in the future. 

What about No Fault Eviction benefits for Minors?

           Section 37.9C of the Rent Ordinance, which deals with “No Fault Evictions” provides that all authorized occupants, regardless of age, who have lived in the rental unit for 12 or more months are entitled to benefits.  Thus, with No Fault Evictions unlike Ellis Act Evictions, minor children can be eligible to receive monetary benefits, so long as they are authorized occupants.