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Looking to Rent? It’s Important to Know Your Rights

July 27, 2021

San Francisco is one of the most sought-after rental markets in America, which is why the city boasts some of the most expensive rental agreements. When you are looking to rent instead of buying a property in San Francisco, you might not be aware of your rights. Interestingly the city of San Francisco is estimated to consist of 65 percent rental households. Yet, most of these renters are unaware of a few very important laws that protect them. 

The landlords in this city often take advantage of their tenants to maximize their financial gains. Usually, the landlords who take advantage will count on tenants not knowing the various renter’s rights under California law.

Fortunately, tenants in San Francisco are some of the most well-protected in the entire country.  However, many landlords will still try to take advantage, which is why you should consider consulting a San Francisco lawyer if you feel your rental rights have been violated. The Bogaards Law Firm can help you resolve any landlord-tenant violations you are currently facing. 

The San Francisco Rent Board

Although the San Francisco rent board is the body that ensures rules and regulations of the rent ordinance are enforced, they only consult on certain matters. Essentially the rent board will only consult on issues that concern unlawful rent increases and reductions in services. 

All other rental disputes surrounding a renter’s rights being violated, such as security deposits, harassment issues, and lease agreement breaches, need to be addressed by the courts. In most instances, to resolve these issues, you will need to consult with a rental lawyer. 

Five San Francisco Tenant Rights You Should Know

After conducting thorough research, we have found five crucial San Francisco tenant rights that you should know. 

1. Evicted with a just cause:  If you are a tenant of a protected building under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, you can’t be evicted from your home unless the landlord has a just cause. There are fifteen just cause notices for evictions, and they include fault and no-fault reasons. In some instances, if an owner of a property is evicting you through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to a cash amount of approximately $5,200 per tenant.

2. Security deposit interest:  Regardless of if you live in an older or newer building, you are entitled to earn and receive the interest on a deposit that you have paid for your home. A landlord is responsible for paying you out the interest your deposit earned while renting through them. Additionally, a landlord must pay back a deposit within 21 days of the tenant moving out. Should the landlord fail to do this, they can be held liable for up to twice the rental deposit amount.

3. Rent control:  If the apartment you are renting has rent control, your landlord cannot raise the rental amount as much or as often as they please. Rental amounts can only be increased annually according to the legal rental increase percentage of San Francisco. However, if your landlord does not increase the rental payment every year, they can bank those increased amounts and increase your rent drastically at a later stage.

4. Landlord harassment:  Under no circumstances is a landlord allowed to harass a tenant to the point where they leave the property. Even though the residential address is the landlord’s property, it is still the tenant’s home. However, it is often difficult to prove harassment, so tenants facing this issue should consider hiring an attorney specializing in tenant law.

5. Illegal housing units:  If you are renting an illegal housing unit, you might believe that you have no rights. Yet, the opposite is true. San Francisco’s rent ordinance laws protect tenants of illegal housing units. This means that a tenant cannot be unlawfully evicted and that a landlord cannot increase the rental amount more than what is deemed legal.

Contact A San Francisco Tenant Attorney To Discuss Your Rental Dispute Today

San Francisco rental disputes can be incredibly stressful and challenging to understand. If you’re wondering if you have a valid case, you should consider talking to a San Francisco tenant attorney. The Bogaards Law Firm handles different and challenging landlord-tenant matters, and as such, we are equipped with the essential knowledge needed to help you. Contact us today if you would like some clarity on initiating legal proceedings surrounding your rental problems. 


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