Subletting with New Tenants

Subletting is a way of life with the high rents in San Francisco. Knowing your tenant’s rights is important to ensuring your landlord treats you fairly.

I’ve had a couple of recent clients  involved with subletting disputes in San Francisco. The S.F. Rent Board routinely relies on Rules and Regulations section 6.15B to make their decision.

Here’s some of the highlights. Note that section 6.15B applies to leases or rental agreements that require the landlord’s consent to assignment or subletting. If the lease specifies the number of tenants or it has been established for a while, then replacing one or more of the tenants is not a breach of the lease. If the landlord has withheld his or her consent, the tenant’s inability to obtain the landlord’s consent is not a breach of the lease.

In order to have the landlord’s actions be considered unreasonable, tenants must request in writing permission from the landlord before the new tenant moves in. The new tenant must complete the landlord’s standard application or provide enough information for the landlord to do a background check. The new tenant must meet the regular application standards, and the new tenant must agree to sign the current rent agreement. Section 6.15B also includes some restrictions about how many new tenants can move in within a year and that the total number of tenants must remain the same. Of course, Section 6.15B does not apply to subletting the entire unit.

While the law may seem simple enough, applying it to your specific situation can be more difficult. You may wish to consult an experienced tenant attorney to learn how you can protect your tenant’s rights.


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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Real Estate Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mary Catherine Wiederhold
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