A San Francisco lease agreement establishes the terms and conditions of a rental arrangement between a landlord and tenant. It includes provisions specific to local laws and regulations, such as rent control ordinances and other tenant protections, to ensure compliance and clarify rights and responsibilities for both parties.
San Francisco Lease Requirements
Here are some requirements mandated by the San Francisco Municipal Code, Chapter 37 that landlords should consider:
Just Cause Evictions
In compliance with the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants without just cause in both at-fault and no-fault scenarios (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9). For any eviction, landlords must provide tenants with written notices detailing the reason:
- No-fault evictions are commonly used when the landlord intends to occupy the unit, withdraw it from the market, or due to legal mandates. Relocation payments totaling $4,500, should be provided and split into two (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9C). If the property becomes available for rent within five years, the landlord must first offer it to the displaced tenant, who has 30 days to respond (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9B).
- At-fault evictions are based on tenant misconduct, such as failure to pay rent, lease violations, or criminal behavior, granting them ten days to rectify the violation. Failure to do so within this timeframe may lead to eviction proceedings.
Tenants are protected against eviction due to foreclosure unless the landlord has a valid reason for eviction, or the tenant’s lease has expired (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9D).
Rent Control Protection
The San Francisco Rent Ordinance provides rent control protections for most tenants, restricting how much landlords can raise rent within 12 months. This limit, determined by the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI), varies yearly. Landlords must give tenants a 30-day notice for rent increases and a 90-day notice for increases exceeding 10%. Additionally, landlords must be licensed to implement rent increases.
Tenant Buyout Agreements
Buyout agreements involve landlords offering tenants money to vacate their units, a process less regulated than just cause evictions. Consequently, landlords may exert pressure or even threats to compel tenants to vacate. In San Francisco, landlords are required to provide a written disclosure of tenant rights before bringing up a buyout agreement (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9E).
Landlords are prohibited from harassing their tenants through actions such as refusing repairs, abusing entry rights, or coercing them into vacating their rental units (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.10B).
Since April 1, 2020, using a rental property for non-tenant purposes, like converting it into a business space, has been prohibited by law (San Francisco Municipal Code Sec. 37.9F). Exceptions include Non-Tenant Use agreements established before April 1, 2020, lawful short-term rentals, or specific 501(c)(3) organizations.
Optional Lease Disclosures and Addendums
While not mandated by city law, landlords may opt to provide additional disclosures and addendums to enhance clarity and promote better understanding between parties.
- Medical marijuana use disclosure: In San Francisco, where medical marijuana use is legal, landlords must disclose whether it will be allowed on the property. California law permits landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods exclusively. Additionally, landlords should clarify if there are any designated smoking areas on the premises.
- Asbestos disclosure: In cases where asbestos is present, tenants should take precautions to reduce the risk of disturbing asbestos fibers.