In San Francisco, a person who originally signs a lease with the landlord is usually called the original occupant or master tenant. Sometimes, the master tenant has subtenants, who might be accepted as authorized tenants by the landlord.
According to the Rent Ordinance, when the original occupant no longer lives in the apartment, the landlord may raise the rent on the subtenant. San Francisco Rent Ordinance Rules and Regulations section 6.14 states the landlord’s written notice must state that when the original occupant vacates the unit, a new tenancy is created. The landlord is allowed, under the Rent Ordinance, to raise the rent to market and create a new tenancy with the subtenants. However, the rent can only be raised if the landlord sends a subtenant a written notice.
The landlord is not required to petition the San Francisco Rent Board for approval of a rent increase under section 6.14. The tenant may file a petition alleging an unlawful rent increase if she believes that a rent increase under Section 6.14 is not allowed. If the landlord does not serve the section 6.14 notice within 60 days of learning about new tenants in the unit, then there is a presumption that the notice was not timely sent. This presumption can be rebutted by the landlord at the Rent Board.
I have seen section 6.14 notices stating the landlord will have the option of recovering the unit from any remaining occupants. However, this language is not in the San Francisco Rent Ordinance Rules and Regulations. There is no “just cause” eviction for being a subtenant in a unit when the original tenant leaves the unit.