Wrongful Eviction Lawsuits

Wrongful eviction lawsuits are filed for two reasons:
  1. A tenant feels his landlord has "wrongfully endeavored" to evict him, or
  2. A tenant seeks to intimidate a landlord who has begun a proper eviction.

In either case, the landlord is much better off if there is insurance to cover the cost of defending the case. If a landlord has to pay his own attorney to defend him, it can be very expensive. So check with your insurance broker to make sure you have insurance coverage for wrongful eviction before beginning an eviction.


Wrongful eviction lawsuits are serious business because:
  • If the tenant wins anything at all at trial, he is entitled to all of his attorney's fees.
  • Damages are often the difference between what the tenant was paying for rent, and what he ended up paying after being wrongfully evicted. If the difference is $1,000 per month, that equals $12,000 per year. If the tenant can convince the jury he would have stayed for even five years, that equals $60,000.
  • Damages are tripled - so that $60,000 automatically becomes $180,000!
  • Damages can also include the tenant's emotional distress.


Michael J. Raifsnider has successfully represented landlords in wrongful eviction actions for more than a decade. He also serves as a mediator with the Early Settlement Program of the San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of the Bar Association of San Francisco to settle wrongful eviction cases.