Getting added to a rent controlled lease in SF
February 2, 2013 2:47 PM   Subscribe

I've been living in my rent controlled apartment in San Francisco for about 10 months, and would like to be added to the lease (currently, only one of the three of us is on the lease, and she may be moving out soon). Is there anything I need to know before asking the company we rent from whether I can be added? My fear is that they'd use this as an excuse to void the old lease and increase the rent more than what would be normally allowed under rent control. Are my fears justified?
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable to Law & Government (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
San Francisco:

If your roommate is moving out (doesn't matter if you're a subtenant, co-tenant or master tenant), you can always replace that person. That is your right under rent control. If your lease says that you can have a certain number of people in the apartment or if the landlord has always allowed a certain number, then you can always have that many people. If your lease says you need the approval of your landlord in writing or that the prospective tenant needs to fill out an application, then that's what needs to be done. The landlord can only withhold his approval on reasonable grounds.

Standards of "reasonableness" are outlined in Section 6.15 of the Rent Ordinance Rules and Regulations. Basically, the landlord can refuse the person on the grounds of either an eviction on his record or a bad credit rating.

After receiving the roommate replacement letter or the application of the new roommate, the landlord has five (5) days to process the application. If he doesn't approve the tenant within that time period, then you can file for a decrease in services at the Rent Board.

In the event that your lease says no subletting or assignment, you can still replace a roommate. You just can't sublet (go away and rent your room to someone during that time) unless you write the landlord for approval. But the landlord does not have to grant it.

By the way, a prohibition on subletting and assignment must be enlarged and bolded in the lease and initialted by the tenant. Or the landlord must provide the tenant a written explanation of the meaning of the prohibition.

If your lease says no subletting or assignment without written permission of landlord, then you need to write for permission and include an application if required by the lease. The landlord has 5 days to process the application.

From this useful guide
posted by parmanparman at 3:06 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

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