Advise a SF renter?
April 1, 2008 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Advise a San Francisco renter? I've about 6 weeks left on my current lease, and just had a new roommate move in. Rather than tack him on to the remaining time, my landlord would like to scrap the previous lease and have us sign on for a year. I've a feeling my roommate would prefer that as well. I, however, don't wish to be committed that long.

So, I'm thinking I'll push for a 6 month lease - the same term as my last agreement. But I suspect I'll want to move sooner than that, perhaps as early as 3 or 4 months. I've come to realize that I'd much prefer my own place, and should be able to swing it financially.

I think the best strategy would be to tack the new roomie onto the current lease and then go month to month when it expires (I believe tenants have that right here in SF). But I suspect that will generate more than a little ill will.

Any advice on how to handle the situation would be much appreciated!
posted by aladfar to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Can't you get separate leases for your portions of the rent so you can be month to month?
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2008

"month to month" is on that basis for both you and the landlord, you could be dumped whenever he finds a long term renter...

Did you make an agreement with the new roommate? Did the new roommate know when the lease ended... is this a friend?

The answer here is, meet your legal commitments, honor whatever agreement you made with the roommate, and do whatever works for you best within those constraints.
posted by HuronBob at 10:26 AM on April 1, 2008

Where are you at? Im looking to get out of my place in a few months... Im month to month though... I could sublet from you if you are in a good location.
posted by subaruwrx at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2008

Before you take HuronBob's advice, talk to the SF tenant's union.
posted by YoungAmerican at 10:36 AM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

The roommate knows that the current lease is up in May and will be discussing the matter of a new lease (or filling out the old one) with the landlord and I this evening. There aren't any secrets and I'm certainly not looking to screw anyone over.

As for subletting: It's a very decent apartment, so I don't think I'll have any trouble getting someone to take over my portion of the lease. I'm just worried that my landlord may make that quite difficult for me.

Regardless, it seems like talking with the SF Tenants Union is a good idea (I threw the link in there for future generations of SF MeFi readers).
posted by aladfar at 10:44 AM on April 1, 2008

HuronBob: SF has strong tenants rights. It's not as simple as you make it out to be. It gets more complicated when you are changing who is on the lease, but generally once you go month to month the landlord can't kick you out unless you are a flagrantly bad tenant or he is taking the entire building permenantly off the rental market. Going month to month is a good thing for an SF tenant.
posted by aspo at 2:23 PM on April 1, 2008

my apologies for incorrect advice about the month to month... interesting laws you have out there!
posted by HuronBob at 4:29 PM on April 1, 2008

Most leases in San Francisco automatically revert to a month-to-month rental agreement after the lease's year term is up. This is to your benefit, because you aren't obligated to stay a long time. I'd read your lease agreement carefully. I see no benefit to you to sign another lease, and no reason why you should have to. As long as your apartment is under rent control -- and most in SF are -- you do NOT have to resign a lease to continue living in an apartment after one year. You just stay until you decide to move out (or are evicted).

Also, by the way -- even if your roommate is not on the lease, it's my understanding that if the landlord has cashed a check from this person, he or she is technically a recognized tenant and would be able to stay in the apartment even if you moved out.

However, I'm not a tenant's lawyer -- as others have said, the SF Tenants' Union is the place to go.
posted by stonefruit at 5:42 PM on April 1, 2008

Thanks for the advice everyone. I believe I could have asserted my right to go month-to-month after the lease expired, but she and my new roommate may have been a bit shaken had I done so.

In the end, we signed a six month lease. It'll probably be at least 3-4 months before I'm ready to leave and I don't think I'll have any trouble finding someone to take over my portion if and when that time comes.
posted by aladfar at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2008

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