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What is San Francisco Rent Control?

San Francisco rent control–the magical saving grace for long-term San Franciscan residents. You’ve probably heard whispers about it if you’re new to the city. Friends and family have most likely murmured, “find an apartment with rent control.” They’re smart. You should listen to them. It will indeed save you from a huge headache in the future when one day you receive a letter from your landlord that your rent is increasing 100 percent. While San Francisco is an expensive city to live in, but one benefit is the glorious rent control ordinace. If you’re lucky to find one of these gems, you better hold onto it. What exactly is San Francisco rent control? And how does it work? Let’s discuss.

What Is San Francisco Rent Control?

San Francisco rent control is a law that prevents rents from being raised by obscene amounts. These properties are locked into an annual allowable rent increase which varies each year (it’s based on inflation), but currently is at 1.6 percent. In rare cases, a landlord can increase your rent more than the annual fixed price, but it must be a result of a maintenance improvement and it must be approved by the Rent Board.

Who’s Covered by San Francisco Rent Control?

The good news is that most properties in San Francisco are protected by rent control. There are a few exceptions including if you live in a rental unit with a certificate of occupancy after June 13, 1979. You can check the Assessor’s Database to see the construction date of your building.

Single Family Homes

If you have moved into a single family home or two-unit condo after 1996, you are not protected by the San Francisco rent ordinance–there are exceptions though. These units typically don’t exhibit rent increases. But they have been known to evict people for unjust causes–which is something the rent ordinance protects as well.

You Must Receive a 60-Day Notice

If your landlord does choose to increase your rent, you are required to receive a full 60-day notice. This is applicable for the fixed rent control increase, too. When apartment hunting, it’s important to make sure your unit is rent controlled. You can find more information on the ordinance and what’s included on the San Francisco Rent Board website.