Single-Family Home Tenants Protected From “Bad Faith” Rent Hikes

Last month, San Francisco landlords and realtor groups lost their lawsuit to exorbitantly raise rents to force evictions of single-family home renters. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles F. Haines and the court of appeal were having none of it.

Which Tenants are Protected?

A victory for landlords would have overturned a January 2019 San Francisco Rent Ordinance stating “defrauding, intimidating, or coercing a tenant” by hugely raising rent can be raised as a defense in an unlawful detainer.  The decision to let the law stand is a victory for tenants of single-family homes, condominiums, and newly constructed apartments.

Although these types of rental housing are generally exempt from local real estate rent-control limitations under the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, the court of appeal’s opinion is clear: Because the city has the authority to regulate evictions, the law will stand and constitutes eviction protection for units not covered under the Rent Ordinance

What Is An Exorbitant Rent Increase?

If your rent is doubled, tripled or quadrupled, it is most likely an exorbitant increase demanded in bad faith to force you out. Here are some examples cited in the decision:

  • A rent increase substantially in excess of market rates for comparable units;
  • A rent increase within six months after an attempt to recover possession of the unit; and
  • Other factors as a court or the Rent Board may deem relevant

Landlords May Still Raise Rents

…but not in retaliation and not to create a “work around” to avoid local eviction regulations. Sometimes when properties change ownership exorbitant increases may occur. I If you experience any exorbitant rent increase, seek legal advice immediately with a experienced tenant attorney.

Know Your Rights. Protect Yourself.





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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Real Estate Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mary Catherine Wiederhold
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