Raising Rents

San Francisco and the Bay Area have some of the highest rents in the United States. As a landlord, you should have the right to raise your rents to fair market value when, and if, the law permits you. Unfortunately, applicable rent control laws weigh in favor of tenants, and knowing how and when to increase the rent is not a simple matter. Rent control laws are strict, offering landlords little opportunity to raise rents to fair market value.

In a city, and surrounding areas, where rent control laws and politics are stacked against property owners, we push back.

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC is the voice of property owners. Our firm represents landlords during rent increase disputes. We aren't afraid of a challenge. We take on complex cases, and we get results.

Rent Control Laws Favor Tenants

In San Francisco, properties built before 1979 generally fall under the city's strict rent control laws. Determining when a landlord may raise rents requires a careful analysis of three complex laws: the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, San Francisco Rent Board rule 1.21 and San Francisco Rent Board regulation 6.14, as well as a proper investigation of the current use of the property. Similar restrictions apply in other Bay Area cities with rent control.

In general, a landlord may raise rents in an otherwise rent-controlled apartment in the following circumstances:

  1. If the master or original occupant no longer permanently resides in the unit, and only subsequent occupants remain
  2. If the tenant vacates the unit, and there is no one who occupies the unit as a primary residence
  3. If the last original occupant has vacated the rental unit and only subsequent occupants remain

We Advocate For Property Owners

Tenants, and oftentimes their subtenants and roommates, try to preserve rent-control status for properties they use as part-time residences or sublease their units to third parties even when explicitly prohibited from doing so in rental agreements. Both situations can warrant a rent increase, but only if the landlord acts promptly and appropriately in response to the tenant's actions. Knowing how, and when, to act is difficult and requires careful and ongoing attention.

Unfortunately, these situations often become "he said/she said" disputes, and mistakes can be made that cannot later be undone. At Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC, we leave no stone unturned and act with care and caution. We know the evidence needed to support a rent increase, and we are diligent in our investigation. With a potentially very large rent increase at stake, a few right moves can be the difference between compromising the right to that increase and losing out on it for the foreseeable future.

Our lawyers have been representing local property owners for decades. We know the law, and we will make it work for you. Over the years, we have represented thousands of landlords during rent increase disputes. We will fight for you and your rights.

Contact our attorneys today at 415-956-8100 or online to schedule a consultation.