Wolford Wayne represents tenants before the Rent Board. Many landlord-tenant disputes can be resolved at the San Francisco Rent Board. The Rent Board is a great resource for tenants. For some disputes, such as those related to a rent increase or whether a unit is a tenant’s primary place of residency, the Rent Board is the only available venue. To find out more check out our overview on their services here.

Our Rent Board Services include representing tenants in hearings for:

Section 1.21 “Tenant in Occupancy” Petitions

We have a strong track record of success before the rent board defeating 1.21 Petitions. Once a rent-controlled tenant no longer uses their apartment as their primary home a landlord can raise the rent.

Landlords who suspect a tenant isn’t using their home as their primary residence can bring a petition to raise the rent. This is known as a 1.21 petition. 1 .21 refers to the Rent Board Rules and Regulations Section 1.21. Often we see landlords do this without actually talking to a tenant and finding out what is going on. Tenants can fight these petitions. We help tenants prepare a response and represent tenants at hearings on 1.21 Petitions.

Costa Hawkins and Section 6.14 Petitions

If a landlord thinks a tenant no longer lives in their apartment they can try to raise rent to market rate. A landlords can raise a tenant’s rent to market rate when the “original occupants” no longer live in the unit. In other words if you are a subtenant and your master tenant moves out, your landlord may be able to raise your rent. ​To raise rent legally the landlord must file a petition. The Rent Board will then hold a hearing on the issue.

If you’re a tenant who’s received notice of this type of petition, it’s not a lost cause. Depending on your relationship with the landlord, the length of your tenancy, and other factors, you may still have a right to rent control.

Unlawful Rent Increase Petitions and Lawful Rent Determinations

Landlords can only raise rent on a rent-controlled apartment by a fixed amount each year. If a landlord tries to raise your rent beyond the allowable amount, a tenant can file a petition to challenge the rent increase. This comes into play in particular when a landlord claims that a unit is not covered by rent control. The Rent Board will hold a hearing to determine the legal rent.