Can I Evict a Tenant to Rent The Place to My Daughter?

Question

We own a duplex in a rent-controlled city; we rent out the downstairs and live upstairs. Our daughter is engaged and we would like her to move in downstairs. How can we get the current tenant to move?

Answer

Most rent control ordinances require landlords to have a "just cause," a legally recognized reason, to terminate a rent-controlled tenancy. Common reasons include a tenant's failure to pay rent, excessive damage, unauthorized occupants, or the landlord's desire to take the rental off the market. "Owner move-ins" are generally on the list, but every ordinance deals with the issue of owner move-ins, or family move-ins, differently. For example, each ordinance will define the term "family" in a particular way.

Your first step should be to check your rent control ordinance to confirm that an owner move-in is allowed in your situation. Check the details -- some ordinances require landlords with other holdings to make them available to a displaced tenant, and some require landlords to cover relocation expenses.

Don't forget that if your tenant has a lease, you must honor it and wait until its term is up. If the tenant rents from month to month, you may follow your state's notice period (typically 30 days) when giving your tenant notice to move out.

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