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Joseph Tobener

Landlord or tenant Attorney at San Francisco, CA

5.0   13 reviews

About Joseph

Learn Joseph’s areas of practice.

1
Practice area
  1. Landlord or tenant
    100%
    Tenant and renter rights attorney. We fight illegal rent increases and landlord harassment. Specializing in eviction defense, repairs, and buyouts. Representing tenants in fire, mold, leaks, sewer, rats, mice, electrical cases and any actions against landlords

    23 years, 10,000 cases

We are the leading tenant rights lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Joseph Tobener draws on his specialized legal expertise to provide easy-to-understand and aggressive assistance to a diverse clientele, while maintaining individualized attention and personal care. The firm has collected millions of dollars on behalf of its clients, assisting more than 10,000 tenants through wrongful evictions, intractable repair issues, landlord harassment and housing discrimination, habitability issues and landlord-caused injuries.

The firm has a 95% success rate and won the 2014 SF Bay Guardian Small Business of the Year.  It has been featured in California Lawyer and the Daily Journal, and has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, Wired, and Reuters.  The firm is dedicated to employee activism, and sponsors all of its lawyers to volunteer weekly at legal nonprofits, equaling nearly 500 community hours each year.  The firm is respected as a leader in tenant law among its peers and has represented countless attorneys and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

Additionally Tobener Law Center has helped tenants deal with variety of other issues such as rent control violations, illegal rent increases, foreclosures, negotiating buy-outs, security deposit, and negotiation of residential & commercial leases.

Call today to speak to an experienced and passionate tenant attorney or contact us at https://www.tobenerlaw.com/contact/.

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Licensed for 23 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 1999
Updated 08/08/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Joseph

Tobener Ravenscroft LLP
21 Masonic Avenue Ste A
San Francisco, CA, 94118
Tobener Ravenscroft LLP - Oakland Office
1300 Clay Street
Ste 600
Oakland, CA, 94612
Tobener Ravenscroft LLP - San Jose Office
111 N. Market Street
Ste 300
San Jose, CA, 95113
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Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  13 customer reviews
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Posted by anonymous | July 15, 2020
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Super supportive and helpful
Tobener was very kind and thorough in helping me discuss the pros and cons of my issue with an illegal eviction notice, helping me make the decision that was best for me. When it became clear he was not the right lawyer for the case, he referred me to a very able attorney who had been a great help so far.
Posted by anonymous | March 17, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Amazing attorney, highly recommended
Attorney Tobener is one of the best! He was super helpful -- he explained my rights, set my expectations based on the strength of my case and even shared the relevant Civil Code statutes. We ended up winning!
Posted by Yi | August 24, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
we are so grateful for Mr. Tobener's help
We cannot express how grateful our family to Mr. Tobener’s help! We were renting a house in SF, paying our rent on time and had a lease until June 2016. However, in late August, 2015, we suddenly received a letter which stated that our landlord has been confirmed of bankruptcy and our lease was no longer valid. The disbursing agent, who is the attorney of the bank, told us by phone that we would have to vacate by November, and that he would get a court order to evict us. We were shocked and distressed. We have two small children who had just started their new school. How can we find a good school and move them in the beginning of a new school year? One of us just started a demanding job. Looking for a new home and moving will take too much time to put the new job at risk. The eviction threats caused both of us to lose a lot of sleep. We began to search for a tenant rights lawyer. We made a lot of phone calls and talked with several firms. However, most firms rejected us because our case is too complicated with the involvement of bankruptcy issue. We found one attorney who was willing to give it a try. However, he charged us a lot of money for legal search and asked us to pay more for further search. We felt that we may end up to wasting a lot of money, but still be evicted by November. We finally found Mr. Tobener, who was referred to us by a tenant lawyer. He told us Mr. Tobener can help us, but warned us that Tobener Law Center is a high-end firm. In the first 15 minutes call, Mr. Tobener immediately told us the law and the controlling case in this situation. He wrote a letter to the bank attorney the second day, which completely turned the situation around. We were amazed by his familiarity with the law and the power of his letter. The bank attorney immediately withdrew his threats in writing after he received Mr. Tobener’s letter. At that point, we knew we are in good hands. Surprisingly, Mr. Tobener’s legal fee is much less than the first attorney we hired since he spent substantial less time. During the next ten months, Mr. Tobener helped us in every step. He fiercely protected our tenant rights and diligently negotiated the settlement offer for us. He carefully listened to our needs and gave us great advice. He always answered our emails and phones promptly. He is very nice, and he is competent and strong at the same time. The bank attorney and his agents were not reasonable, but Mr. Tobener eventually turned this difficult case into a victory and successfully negotiated a buyout agreement at the right time for us. We are so happy about Mr. Tobener’s service. If you have tenant law issues, please take the lesson we learned in the hard way: hire the best in the business. Mr. Tobener is the best tenant rights lawyer from our experience and we know that he will give you the best results possible. We highly recommend Mr. Tobener without any reservation.
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Posted by anonymous | November 5, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Legal Service
I had the pleasure of both, working for Joe Tobener as a paralegal, and later retaining his team's advice on habitability concerns I was facing at a rental. Joe was such a pleasure to work for, very patient, easily approachable, and willing to take a moment to show me the big picture. He always offered praise and appreciation for my help. It's hard to ask for more of a leader than him. His team has been a tremendous support for me and my family with top quality legal advice. Our case was handled with care and always delivered with empathy, leaving no doubt that they genuinely cared about my situation. He provided me with a high level of comfort and confidence throughout the process. We highly recommend Tobener Law Center.
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Posted by Ben | November 5, 2014
Honest advocate who puts your interests above his
Like everything else in life, there are good lawyers and bad lawyers, but Joe Tobener is a GREAT lawyer. He's about as knowledgeable, honest, and strategic as they come. He should be your first call.
Posted by David | October 22, 2014
Great Lawyer, Great Staff, Fantastic Results!
I was having issues with our landlord pertaining to an Ellis Act eviction. Once they hired an attorney to "paperwork" this through the system, we discovered we were quickly getting over our heads. We knew we had certain rights but were just not sure how to proceed due to the resulting paperwork madness presented to us in the form of countless letters and emails from the SF Rent Board and from our landlord's attorney. Not being attorneys, we found most of this quite confusing and a bit scary. We were afraid we would not get what was due to us after the Ellis Act filing. So, we sought out the help of Mr. Tobener and his staff, a tenant’s rights law firm in San Francisco, to represent us in this matter and protect our interests. His name was routinely mentioned/recommended by practically everyone I asked for referrals at the various public services options available to tenants, including the SF Rent Board. After meeting with Mr. Tobener, they drafted a fantastic letter responding to these many letters from their attorney. It summarized our position perfectly and resulted in a more than satisfying settlement, that was quite truthfully, much more than we expected. I would recommend Mr. Tobener without hesitation to anyone seeking a top-notch, quality, competent real-estate and tenants’ rights attorney. On top of that, he is a great guy who is easy to talk to and seems to genuinely care about his clients and the matters they face. Thank you Joe!
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Posted by Monica | October 11, 2014
Incredibly knowledgeable and efficient
Joe Tobener and his team have helped us twice in the past couple of years with corrupt landlord and business practices. Both times Tobener Law Center was amazing: quick, well-versed in the law and effective. They saved us a ton of money and time fighting unjust systems. I'd highly recommend Tobener Law if you're having trouble with lax landlords, non-payment of security deposits, discrimination, or charges for services not rendered. They're really great.
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Posted by Claire | October 10, 2014
Amazing attorney--incredibly knowledgable and effective.
Joe is a fantastic attorney! He is smart, knowledgable, and also a really nice guy. When I realized my landlord issues were not going to resolve themselves, I contact Joe. He walked me through all my options and quickly worked to resolve an issue I was having with my landlord. Joe got far better results than I ever expected-- I wish I had contacted him sooner!
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Posted by Rebecca | October 9, 2014
Tobener Law to the rescue when small issues turned ugly
Joe Tobener was a steadfast advocate for us in our case with our landlord. Joe took our worries seriously, gathered all the details, and was accessible and easy to talk to. He has a wealth of experience in small cases and in large, and was able to scale the advice appropriately, to lay out our options for how to handle the issues we were facing with our landlord. There were a number of mounting repairs not being addressed at our rental property where we had been living for 10 years, and so Joe gave us very specific advice not only in the legal aspects of the case but was insightful as to the dynamics of the people involved, so that our situation could end up as a win-win for all parties. The issues he counseled me on have been resolved to our satisfaction now and I would not hesitate to involve him again with my tenant issues, or in recommending him to anyone needing legal advice or representation in tenant matters.
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Posted by Stephen | October 7, 2014
Compassionate, Dedicated Tenant Lawyer
Joe Tobener at the Tobener Law Center is one of the most dedicated attorneys I've met. His dedication to tenants is clear from his prompt responses to client questions and impressive knowledge of state and local laws. He focuses on landlord/tenant law and has become one of the premier Bay Area tenant lawyers but still offers very reasonable fee rates and structures. I have recommended him to many friends with tenant issues and would do so again.
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Posted by Ron | July 25, 2014
Great experience working with Toebner Law
Toebner Law handled my eviction when I was forced to move from a SF residence where I'd lived for 34 years. I felt they listened to my issues and took them seriously. Moreover ,Joe Toebner demonstrated flexibility in reconsidering aspects of my situation that may not have seemed very impactful on first presentation. The ability of Toebner and his associates to work well with opposing attorneys was key in moving my case along relatively fast and reaching an amicable settlement
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Posted by Gabriela | July 21, 2014
Excellent experience and service
At work one of our key employees was threatened with eviction while he was out of the country on sabbatical. Having "the defendant" out of the country made for a complex and urgent case. The landlord tried to pull a fast one, nailing papers to the door, hoping to get a judgement on default. Tobener defended and won the case. We hired Tobener Law Center for the following reasons: 1) They actually returned our calls and were willing to discuss the outlines of the case on the phone. Most of the other law firms were next to impossible to contact - some got back to us days later. 2) Unlike other lawyers, they recommended the free clinic run by the city. This is very public minded of them, to advise people how to save money. Unfortunately our case was too complex and fast moving, but we appreciated the gesture. 3) Joe and Luke are super sharp lawyers. They are also nice people. We were always impressed with their strategy and performance. 4) They return emails and calls promptly. They get stuff done. They made the landlord's firm look like the Keystone Cops. 5) If winning and service are important to you, hire Tobener. They charge what the other lawyers charge, but their service is a notch above. Super law firm for tenant defense.
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Posted by anonymous | June 30, 2014
Security deposit issues resolved.
Mr. Tobener and his team gave me sound advice on dealing with my landlord who refused to return a security deposit. A strongly worded letter was all it took to return my security deposit in full.
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Managing Partner
  • Tobener Law Center
  • 2001 - Present
  • Counselor
  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • 2000 - Present
  • Professor
  • UC Hastings College of Law
  • 2005 - 2007
  • Professor
  • San Francisco State University
  • 2005 - 2014
View all work experience

Education

  • UC Hastings COL
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1999
  • Univ of California at Los Angeles
  • BA
  • 1996
  • San Francisco State University
  • Masters in Counseling
  • N/A

Legal Cases

  • Tenant v. Landlord
  • $400,000 awarded to tenant
  • Tenant v. Landlord
  • $134,000 awarded to tenant
  • Tenant v. Landlord
  • $384,905 awarded to tenants
View all legal cases

Associations

  • San Francisco Tenant Lawyers Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2011 - Present
  • San Francisco State University
  • Adjunct Professor CLE
  • 2007 - Present
  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • Counselor
  • 2002 - Present
  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • Voting Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • University of California Hastings College of Law
  • Adjunct Professor
  • 2006 - 2008
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish
  • English

Awards

  • Superb Rating (10/10)
  • Avvo
  • 2015
  • Business of the Year -- Law Firm
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • 2014
  • Superb Rating (10/10)
  • Avvo
  • 2014
  • Client's Choice
  • Avvo
  • 2014
  • Superb Rating (10/10)
  • Avvo
  • 2013
  • Certicate of Excellence Instruction
  • UC Hastings College of Law
  • 2007
View all awards

Publications

  • Daily Journal
  • Lawyers Pursuing Short-Term Rentals
  • 2014
  • San Francisco State University
  • Cite Checking and Bluebooking Action Guide
  • 2007
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • Force Your Landlord to Repair
  • 2011
  • UC Hastings
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • 2007
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (20)
Given (28)
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jan 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Nov 04
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Joe is an outstanding lawyer and a tremendous advocate for his clients. Anyone with a landlord tenant dispute would be very fortunate to have Joe Tobener on their side."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Nov 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 23
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 07
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Joe and I attended law school together, and have worked together since then. He is a professional and passionate advocate for his clients. He is always my first recommendation to anyone seeking counsel in this area of law."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 07
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Oct 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Tobener is an expert in landlord/tenant issues. I refer all tenant-related issues to Mr. Tobener as he will rigorously represent the interests of the clients."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Sep 22
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Joe is not only the premier expert in Bay Area tenant rights, he is also genuinely passionate about his line of work and obtaining top notch results for clients."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Sep 19
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"Joe brings a lot of passion to each of his cases and cares deeply about the rights of tenants. He's been doing this a long time so knows the area of law really well."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Aug 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe is the go-to expert on Tenant Law in San Francisco and a true advocate for Bay Area tenants. He is skilled, intelligent, and reliable. I strongly endorse him."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jul 14
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe Tobener is incredibly well-regarded in the legal community, and he is known to be a top tenant attorney in San Francisco. He provides excellent service to his clients and is extremely knowledgeable about all things tenant law. I strongly endorse this lawyer."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jul 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe cares for his clients. He possesses the skill, intellect and passion necessary to represent his clients well."
Unknown Attorney | Jul 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"That Joe Tobener is the attorney tenant rights organizations turn to when they need legal representation speaks volumes about his reputation in the San Francisco legal community. In addition to being an exceptional lawyer, Joe is also an accomplished entrepreneur whose firm was the recipient of the 2014 San Francisco Bay Guardian Best Small Business Award. He is also an invaluable resource for other tenant attorneys and is always very generous with his time. I enthusiastically endorse Joe!"
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jul 09
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe Tobener is straightforward, knowledgeable, and quick to respond to emails. I feel confident referring clients with landlord tenant issues to his office."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jul 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe Toebner is the kind of lawyer I like to send clients to. He is smart, personable and strategic. Joe always puts his clients first; this is especially important for clients who have less power than their opponents. I heartily endorse him."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Jul 08
Relationship: Opposing Counsel on matter
"As an attorney primarily representing landlords, I have had numerous cases against Joe. I have found him intelligent, diligent, ethical, and zealous. He is an effective negotiator without being difficult to negotiate with. I have also referred clients to Joe who speak very highly of his work. I highly endorse him as a tenant attorney."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Sep 27
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Joey is a passionate and thoughtful advocate for tenants' rights. Knowledgeable, intelligent, practical. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him and recommend him without hesitation."
Landlord or tenant Attorney | Sep 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joey Tobener does great work, and I highly recommend his services. I've referred clients to Joey, and he has gotten them wonderful results. If you have landlord/tenant issues, then Joey Tobener is the attorney to call in San Francisco."
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