Officials in Pacifica, Calif., have ordered some residents out of their homes after landslides caused by El Nino storms left some houses and apartment buildings teetering at the edge of eroding cliffs.

One building in an apartment complex was "yellow-tagged" on Monday, meaning residents can only go in to get their possessions but cannot live there.

"A couple of weeks ago, I had a place that I loved to live. It's nice and quiet, beautiful, serene and almost isolated but not too far," Michael McHenry, who had only lived in the building for three months, told Reuters.

"Since all the storms have started hitting, the place is literally falling off the cliff, and last weekend I was sufficiently not comfortable to the point where I didn't get any sleep for almost 2½ days, and I can't live like that, you know," he said.

Some residents of the apartment building have moved out, while others have said they will defy the order to leave. Police in Pacifica have said they may have to take criminal action if people refuse to move out.

Two other apartment buildings in the complex have been perched on the cliff since they were evacuated in 2010.

Pacifica is about 24 kilometres south of San Francisco.

El Nino Damage

An apartment complex in Pacifica, Calif., stands on the edge of an eroding cliff with the Pacifica Pier in the background Monday. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)