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APPEALS COURT RULES THAT MINOR CHILDREN ARE NOT TENANTS ENTITLED TO ELLIS EVICTION RELOCATION PAYMENTS

The California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District has ruled that minor children who are occupants of rental units under their parentsí rental agreement are not entitled to separate relocation payments in Ellis Act evictions. The San Francisco Rent Ordinance requires that tenants who are served with Ellis Act eviction notices to remove the rental units from the rental market are entitled to receive relocation assistance. Each tenant in occupancy is entitled to a separate share of the monetary relocation assistance payable under Rent Ordinance section 37.9A(e). Seniors, disabled persons, and households with children are entitled to receive additional relocation payments. In Danger Panda, LLC. v. Launiu (April 4, 2017) the court ruled that minor children are not tenants under the Rent Ordinance definition because, even though they may have the right to occupy the unit with their parents, they do not have the legal capacity to enter into binding rental contracts.

This result would be different under the provisions for relocation assistance in cases other that Ellis Act evictions, because Rent Ordinance section 37.9C specifically includes children as occupants who are entitled to receive monetary relocation assistance.

The Board of Supervisors has introduced legislation to correct this disparity by specifically defining minor children as tenants entitled to receive monetary relocation assistance in Ellis Act evictions. The legislation is expected to pass and to be signed into law.