For tenants living in rent controlled units there are strict rules regarding timing, notice periods, and caps on rent increases. Curious to know if that increase notice you got from your landlord is legitimate? Here we run down the basic rules surrounding rent increases in San Francisco.
First and foremost, let’s discuss what you need to know about how much your landlord can legally raise your rent in San Francisco in 2022. For rent-controlled apartments, San Francisco landlords are limited to increasing rents according to the annual allowable increase as set out by the San Francisco Rent Board. For the period beginning from March 1, 2022, until February 28, 2023, the rate limitation is 2.3%. The amount varies each year depending on inflation and is released annually by the Rent Board.
There is no limit on the amount of rent a landlord can charge a tenant when they first move into a vacant unit. In San Francisco we have what is known as “vacancy decontrol,” meaning that landlords are not restricted on what they can charge at the start – it’s whatever the market dictates – but are restricted on increases thereafter for the remainder of that tenancy.
Landlords can only increase the rental amount on the ‘base rent’ of their property. Yet, you should note that storage and parking costs if considered a part of the base rent amount and can also be legally increased. So, for example, if you move into an apartment at a rent of $3,000 per month, that is now the base rent for however long you continue in that tenancy. Thereafter if you rent a unit subject to rent control laws, your landlord can increase your rent, but only according to the annual increase limitations. The first annual increase can be imposed 12 months after the date the tenancy began. Note that there are some special circumstances where a landlord can attempt to raise the rent beyond this.
Rent increases are not automatically instated. A San Francisco landlord is required to give a tenant a minimum of thirty days written notice if their rent is increasing less than 10%. For any rent increase beyond 10%, whether it’s a banked increase for a rent controlled unit, or otherwise, requires a ninety-day written notice.
If you have received a rent increase beyond the allowable amount, you should contact a qualified tenant’s rights attorney and discuss your options. You may have grounds to file an unlawful rent increase petition at the San Francisco Rent Board and get the increase reversed. In extreme circumstances, tenants who moved out after receiving an illegal rent increase may have grounds to bring a lawsuit and recover substantial damages. To protect your interests, you should discuss a strategy with a lawyer first before going in front of the Rent Board.
If you have any concerns regarding your rent increase and you believe your landlord is doing so, contact a San Francisco tenant attorney. An attorney from Wolford Wayne LLP will analyze your case particulars to determine your legal options. We can bring an action before the Rent Board when needed and assess any other options you might have.
Recovered on behalf of a group of 30 tenants living in an SRO in San Francisco who were living with horrendous conditions in their rent controlled apartments, including rodents, bedbugs, mold, water leaks and harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three families living in a building in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood who were forced to live with substandard conditions for years as a result of their landlord’s negligence, including issues with lack of heat, lack of hot water and cockroach/rat infestations.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a couple living in a rent-controlled home in the outer Sunset neighborhood. Our clients were forced to vacate after the landlord served them with an Owner Move-In Eviction Notice. After the landlords failed to move into the property, our clients filed suit for wrongful eviction.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant in Russian Hill. Tenant was forced to vacate her illegal apartment in retaliation for reporting unlawful rent increases to the San Francisco Rent Board.Read More
Recovered for a single long-term tenant in San Francisco. Our client was forced to move out of his apartment as a result of extreme landlord harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of three long-term tenants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood who were constructively evicted due to noise and nuisance conditions created by their downstairs neighbors, which the owner refused to address.Read More
Recovered on behalf of elderly, disabled tenant who was forced to move out of her rent-controlled San Francisco apartment of 50 years after landlord/owner failed to resolve numerous building code violations that remained outstanding for over a decade.Read More
Recovered on behalf of seven tenants living in a makeshift boarding house in East Palo Alto.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two former San Francisco tenants who were evicted via an Owner Move-In Eviction and owner failed to occupy the unit as her primary place of residence.Read More
Recovered on behalf of an elderly long-term tenant who was forced to vacate her long San Francisco apartment as a result of her landlord’s refusal to address longstanding defective conditions, including lack of heat, mold, rodent infestations, and defective plumbing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco tenant who was forced to vacate his home as a result of ongoing, disruptive construction and the owners’ refusal to provide him with alternative housing. Read More
Recovered on behalf of a San Francisco family that was constructively evicted from their home in the Richmond District as a result of unlawful rent increases, defective conditions and tenant harassment.Read More
Recovered on behalf of a tenant living in an illegal “in-law” unit. In this case, a new owner purchased the building and then demolished our client’s unit without permits while she was displaced for seismic retrofitting.Read More
Recovered on behalf of two long term San Francisco tenants who were fraudulently evicted from their home of over twenty years under the pretext of an owner move-in eviction.Read More
Recovered for tenant who was injured when their stairway railing collapsed at the tenant’s Mission District apartment building.Read More
Recovered in action for a group of tenants forced to vacate their San Francisco apartment house due to severe habitability defects including mold and water leaks.Read More
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