So, you have decided to move the beautiful bay city of San Francisco. Whether you have just received a job transfer or you are unsure of how long you will be residing there, you have decided that renting an apartment is best choice for you. But before you move to San Francisco, you should know a little bit about the laws of renting in San Francisco.
1. Rent Control
The city of San Francisco is governed by rent control laws. Rent control is a way of limiting the price increase that a landlord can pass on to a tenant. If you are considering renting in San Francisco, you should be aware that the current maximum allowable increase is 2.2%. That means that your landlord cannot increase your rent to amount 2.2% higher than your current rent. Your landlord must also give you 30 days of notice if he plans to do this.
While this sounds like a good way of keeping your rent under control, keep in mind that a landlord can roll the increase over to the following year. What that means is that if your landlord chooses not to impose a rent increase this year, he can impose it next year. Next year he will be able to impose the 2.2% that he did not charge you for this year, and whatever the current maximum allowable percentage is at the time. However, in order to do this, he must give you a 60 day notice.
2. Eviction Laws
Under California law, tenants in San Francisco are only allowed to be evicted with just cause. Some situations considered to be a just cause include consistently pay rent late or not paying at all, bouncing rent checks repeatedly, violating the rental agreement, creating significant amounts of damage to the unit, or using the premises for illegal activity. While your landlord can certainly start the process of eviction, it is a legal matter that has to be brought before a jury before you can be forced to move out. If the jury favors against you, only the Sheriff can force you to move from your apartment. Don’t worry about your landlord throwing your stuff on the lawn, it is illegal and he can be fined $100 for doing so.
3. Prop M
Harassment from your landlord is not tolerated in San Francisco. Although many landlords have found harassment to be an effective way of getting a tenant to move out, it is simply not something you have to put up with. That is why the San Francisco voters passed a law known as Prop M.
Prop M gives a tenant a means to stand up against a harassing landlord. If it is deemed in a court of law that your landlord is harassing you, Prop M can reward you with a decrease in your rent and even pay you damages. Additionally, Prop M can give tenants monetary assistance if they have been pursued by their landlord with illegitimate eviction claims.