Q: We are about to file a petition to determine occupancy status with the rent board. The petition is in regard to a tenant who has moved away but works two or three days a week from her "office" in the bay area. Then she goes home. Has anyone done this successfully or unsuccessfully?
Yes, someone has successfully used these regs. He did his homework and took time to build a solid case against the tenant: he verified where the tenant lived, verified that he was claiming a homeowner's exemption elsewhere, verified how and for what he was using the apartment, got a verified proof of service at the "true" home address, and then filed his petition. Once he filed the petition, the tenant capitulated. I believe the basic story was described in our newsletter a couple of months ago.
You're best served by building a similarly airtight case before you go to the Rent board, and then putting just a portion of the evidence into the petition (holding the remainder in reserve; if your tenant is prepared to lie her heart out and prepare a story that explains "everything," you'll want to keep some of your evidence to yourself so that she can't prepare her story completely). You may want to check last month’s issue for a fuller explanation.