In addition to prohibiting rent increases or evictions based on adding new roommates to an existing tenancy, even when an existing lease specifically disallows new occupants or specifies an associated increase in rent, a proposed change to San Francisco’s Administrative Code would also prohibit landlords from raising the rent for an apartment after certain vacancies and protect tenants in illegal units as well.
Under the proposed amendment working its way though the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee, tenants would be required to make written requests to officially add a new occupant to an apartment and landlords could formally petition the Rent Board for a rent increase based on increased costs associated with the addition, but landlords would otherwise not be allowed to unreasonably refuse the request or increase the rent.
According to the amendment, a reasonable basis for refusing the request “includes, but is not limited to, the total number of occupants in the unit exceeding the lesser of: (1) two persons in a studio unit, three persons in a one-bedroom unit, four persons in a two-bedroom unit, six persons in a three-bedroom unit, or eight persons in a four bedroom-unit, or (2) the maximum number of persons allowed in the unit under state or local law.”
A landlord’s failure to respond to a written request within 14 days would be considered an approval.
And while landlords are already prohibited from raising the rent for an apartment following an Owner Move-In or Ellis Act eviction, the proposed legislation would disallow increasing the base rent for a vacant apartment when the vacancy follows a change in the terms to a month-to-month lease or if the landlord had terminated an agreement with a governmental agency that provided for a rent limitation to a qualified tenant (i.e., Section 8 housing).
Landlords would also be required to allow tenants to cure a violation of a subletting clause, or other minor violations, prior to initiating eviction proceedings. And tenants in illegal units would be protected from being evicted on the grounds that the unit is not authorized for residential occupancy by the City.
The intent of the proposed amendment is to reduce evictions which are based on technicalities in order to circumvent rent or eviction controls.