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Ellis Act Ordinance

The Ellis Act Ordinance applies when an owner or developer plans to demolish or remove apartments from the rental market. This Ordinance applies to apartments that are three units or more that were: 

  • Before 1979 and are rent stabilized subject to the Apartment Rent Ordinance. The Ellis Act Ordinance requires 50% of new apartments built on the site of previously rent stabilized apartments be subject to the Apartment Rent Ordinance. The owner is responsible for providing the noticing requirements and relocation benefits to the displaced tenant households. 
  • Built after 1979 and are not rent stabilized. The owner is responsible for providing the noticing requirements and relocation assistance to the displaced tenant households. 
  • For additional information, please review the Ellis Act Ordinance and Fact Sheet.
  • The required forms and instructions are available for download here.
  • NEW: The proposed draft amendments are available here for review. For more information on the proposed changes view our recent e-blast or join us at the upcoming community outreach meetings: 1) Wednesday, February 12th from 6:30-7:30 PM at Bascom Community Center, or 2) Friday, February 14th from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM at San José City Hall Wing Rooms 118-119. The deadline to submit comments has been extended to Wednesday, February 19th at 5 PM. 

Ellis Act Eviction Process

What to Expect for Tenants


Removal from Rental Market - Tenants

A property owner may recover possession of a rental unit either to demolish it or to remove it permanently from rental housing use.

If you receive an eviction notice from your owner because your owner wishes to take over the rental unit, you can expect the following:

  • You will receive a Notice to Withdraw that has been filed by your owner.
  • Your case will be referred to the City’s Relocation Consultant to provide you support during your relocation.
  • The amount of relocation fees you may be entitled to will be determined.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

  • 120-Day Notice of Eviction: You are entitled to a 120-Day Notice of Eviction.
  • One-Year Extension: You may be entitled to a one-year extension from the date the owner delivered the Notice of Intent to Withdraw if you are low-income, over the age of 62, disabled, terminally or catastrophically ill, or have school-aged children.

Relocation Assistance

You may be entitled to relocation assistance. The City’s Relocation Consultant will determine the amount of relocation benefits you are entitled to, otherwise the determination will be based on the information provided by your owner.

Studio 1-Bedroom 2-Bedroom 3-Bedroom

Base Assistance





Qualified Assistance





Total Base + Qualified





Interested in returning to the rental unit should it become available?

For units re-rented within five years, rent will be set at the rent paid when the Notice of Intent to Withdraw is given, escalated by the annual allowable rate for the number of years the unit was not occupied. For units re-rented after 10 years, tenants will have the right to return only. If apartments were demolished and rebuilt, tenants do not have a right to return to the newly constructed apartments.

What to Expect for Property Owners


Removal from Rental Market – Property Owners

The Ellis Act Ordinance allows a property owner seeking in good faith to recover possession of a rental unit and remove units from rental housing use if the property owner plans on demolishing or permanently withdrawing the units from the rental housing market.

What You Must Do

  • Noticing – All households must be provided with a minimum of 120 days’ notice. Special populations including residents over the age of 62, disabled, terminally/catastrophically ill, and residents with school-aged children must be given up to one-year notice.
  • Relocation Benefits – All tenants are eligible to receive relocation benefits. Special populations including low-income residents, residents over the age of 62, disabled, terminally/catastrophically ill, and residents with school-aged children are eligible for additional relocation benefits.
  • Right to Return – If the apartments return to the rental market within ten years, tenants have a right to return to their apartments. If the apartment is demolished and rebuilt, the right to return does not apply.
  • Subject to the Apartment Rent Ordinance – If a property owner demolishes existing rent controlled apartments, all new apartments built will be subject to the City’s Apartment Rent Ordinance.

Forms Overview & Instructions

Withdrawing Rental Units from the Housing Market – Owners that choose to permanently remove residential rental units from the rental market must first meet with the Rent Stabilization Program to review the process steps, assign a relocation specialist, pay related fees and begin the process of reporting as required by the City of San José. The following forms under the Ellis Act Process must be completed and provided, as appropriate per Ellis Act form instructions, to the City and tenants subject to eviction through the withdrawal process.

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