This decision affirms a JNOV entered after the jury awarded the tenant $600,000 for an eviction on an owner-move-in, alleged to have been in bad faith in violation of San Francisco’s rent control ordinance. The decision holds the “good faith” for this purpose relates only to the owner’s desire to occupy the apartment as his or her primary residence on a long-term basis, and does not entail any wider ranging inquiry into the owner’s general conduct and motivations. Here, the evidence showed that the owner intended to move in since he and his wife ran a liquor store on the ground floor and wanted to live above the store to elimate their commute. Though the building contained a third floor apartment, it was neither comparable nor available at the time the owner evicted the tenant from the second floor apartment. The third floor apartment was under lease to another tenant, and while he was violating the lease by using the apartment for short-term rentals, the owner was under no legal obligation to evict that tenant rather than the plaintiffs.
No. A151825, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 870 (Ct. App. Aug. 19, 2019)