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Tenant Harassment Attorney San Francisco

Tenant Harassment Attorney San Francisco

Tenant Harassment Attorney San Francisco

S.F. landlords who can’t convince tenants to break their leases often engage in unlawful tenant harassment. Harassment takes many forms, and San Francisco law prohibits landlords from engaging in harassing behaviors to regain possession of their increasingly valuable units. If you’re the victim of tenant harassment in San Francisco, contact the dedicated tenant rights attorneys at Wolford Wayne LLP to discuss recovering compensation.

Landlord Behavior Considered Harassment in S.F.

The prevalence of landlord harassment of rent-controlled tenants necessitated the passage of specific San Francisco anti-harassment laws. San Francisco Ordinance 37.10B prohibits landlords and/or their agents, employees, or subcontractors from engaging in any of the following acts in bad faith:

  • Refusing or failing to perform timely maintenance or repairs
  • Failing to provide housing services required by law or contract, including interrupting or terminating required services
  • Threatening the tenant with physical harm (verbally or nonverbally)
  • Abusing his/her legal right to enter the property
  • Delaying or performing substandard repairs and maintenance under the industrial, health, and safety standards related to lead, dust, asbestos, mold, or other harmful chemicals
  • Using fraud, intimidation, or coercion when attempting to recover possession of the property from the tenant
  • Increasing rent for the purpose of intimidating, defrauding, or coercing the tenant to vacate the unit
  • Offering rental buyouts accompanied with subtle threats or intimidation
  • Violating anti-discrimination laws covering race, gender, sexual preference/identity, religion, age, marriage, or disability
  • Unlawfully interfering with the tenant’s right to privacy, including making unlawful requests for citizenship documentation or Social Security numbers
  • Refusing to acknowledge receipt of rent payments or cash rent checks within 30 days
  • Repeatedly disturbing or failing to address unlawful conduct interfering with the occupant’s peace, quiet, or comfort such that the occupant feels pressured to vacate the unit or waive his housing rights

Bad faith generally means conduct undertaken for an unlawful purpose, such as pressuring tenants to terminate their leases or forcing constructive evictions. For example, § 37.10B states that evidence of bad faith may include increasing rent substantially in excess of comparable market rates or within the six months immediately after failing to recover possession.

Penalties for Engaging in Unlawful Harassment of San Francisco Tenants

Section 37.10B also provides the remedy for tenant harassment. Experienced S.F. tenants’ rights lawyers can file petitions to reduce rent with the rental board, use harassing conduct to defend against evictions, and help tenants file criminal charges. They may also ask civil courts to prohibit continued harassment and request money damages. San Francisco law allows tenants to recover either $1,000 per harassing event or three times the amount of their actual damages, called treble damages, from harassing landlords or their agents. This includes requesting damages for emotional distress.

Discuss Potential Tenant Harassment in San Francisco with the Law Firm of Wolford Wayne LLP

Importantly, the prevailing tenant may also recover punitive damages and attorneys’ fees for landlord harassment. This means S.F. tenants subject to bad faith conduct might recover needed damages and enforce their rights without any out-of-pocket legal fees. Connect with the dedicated tenant harassment lawyers at Wolford Wayne LLP by calling (415) 649-6203 or connecting with us online for free.

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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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