What Renters In San Francisco Must Know About Their Rights

What Renters In San Francisco Must Know About Their Rights

Were you  for a job? Moving closer to family? Or are you just ready to be somewhere new? Whatever your reason for moving, you want to be sure that the process is as smooth as possible and that you are getting everything you expect. As a renter, this means knowing what services you are entitled to from your landlord. If you're looking at making a new home for yourself in California, DoNotPay can help answer any questions you have about .

San Francisco Landlord-Tenant Laws

Security Deposit and Rent

All California security deposits are refundable, even if your lease includes a clause about a non-refundable deposit. The maximum you can be charged for a deposit is:

Two months' rentUnfurnished unit
Three months' rentFurnished unit

Your deposit earns interest that will be paid out to you annually, and the principal must be returned to you within 21 days of you moving out if there is no damage to your unit. If your landlord withholds your deposit, you may sue them in Small Claims or Superior Court.

Most tenants have their  covered by either the city's Rent Ordinance or state rent control. Your rent may go up with inflation, but rent raises are limited by cost of living increases. If your rent will be increasing more than 10%, your landlord must give you 90 days' written notice. Rent increases may occur annually but must happen at least 12 months apart. Tenants can petition to have their rent decreased if the landlord fails or refuses to provide legally required services or any obligations set forth in the lease.

The Eviction Process

In San Francisco, a tenant must be evicted for just cause unless they share their rental unit with their landlord. The city acknowledges 16 just causes, including

  • Not paying rent
  • Regularly being a nuisance or extensive damage to the unit
  • Continued breach of a lease after a written notice
  • Unapproved subletting
  • Continued refusal to give the landlord access to the rental (required by law) after written notice

Most evictions go through court. As a renter, you have legal possession of the unit until you relinquish possession or your landlord gets a court order for possession. Before you can be evicted, you will receive a notice. The amount of time you have after you are given notice varies by the reason for the eviction:

  • If you have been served notice of a fault eviction, you may only receive three days’ notice.
  • If your eviction is no-fault, you will have between 30 and 120 days after the notice is given to move.

You cannot be forced out of your home when the notice expires. After the first notice, your landlord must go to court and serve you a second notice called a Summons and Complaint about Unlawful Detainer. If you provide an Answer to the Summons, you will have at least four weeks before you can be removed from your home. If you lose your case, the sheriff will post a third notice called a Notice to Vacate on the door of your unit. From the posting of the notice, you will have five days to leave before the sheriff comes to remove you until you request and are granted a Stay of Execution.

Rent Control and Just Cause Exemptions

Rent control and just cause eviction measures do not apply to all tenants. For these rules to apply, you must have been a tenant in San Francisco for more than 32 days. If your landlord is exempt from eviction for just cause under the city ordinance, you may be covered by California civil code if you have been a tenant for more than 12 months. Landlords are exempt from state measures if the unit meets one of three conditions:

  1. A unit bathroom or kitchen are shared with the owner
  2. The owner lives in the building and rents less than three units or bedrooms
  3. A two-unit structure where the owner has lived in one of the structures since the tenant moved in. Neither unit can be an in-law unit.

Protect Your Rights With DoNotPay

If you feel your  and you want to break your current lease, DoNotPay can help you in just four steps:

1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.


2. Select which issue applies to you.


3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.


4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.

And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

Save Time Researching With DoNotPay

For each new thing you attempt in life, there is a new set of rules to learn. With renting, it's landlord-tenant laws and renter's rights. If you'd like to save time and let someone else do the research for you, DoNotPay can help. With our knowledge, we can assist you with

Try DoNotPay today to find all the information you need in one place!

Want your issue solved now?