San Francisco Rent Control and Tenants Rights

Explore key aspects of San Francisco rent control

In general, tenants in rent controlled apartments and homes cannot be evicted even after their lease or rental agreement expires, and this is true regardless of whether the tenant has agreed, orally and/or in writing, to move out at the end of the rental term. Essentially, the tenant is allowed to stay in her home for the rest of her life unless she fails to pay rent or violates the rental agreement. There are some limited exceptions to this general rule, such as evictions for owner move-in, relative move-in, or withdrawal of the entire property from rental use, but these have complicated restrictions and requirements.

The articles on this page explore key aspects of San Francisco rent control that affect TIC sellers, buyers and owners. Some of the links lead to the full text of the SF rent law and regulations.

New Tenant Buyout Law

On October 28, 2014, the San Francisco Supervisors passed a new law regulating tenant buyouts. The law prohibits condominium conversions of all types, including two-unit bypass conversions, for buildings where an elderly or disabled tenant has vacated voluntarily in connection with buyout on or after 10/31/14, and delays for 10 years a conversion where non-protected tenants were bought out in two or more units on or after 10/31/14. The new tenant buyout law gives the tenant 45 days to change his/her mind, and requires a written buyout agreement to be filed with the San Francisco Rent Board (which will keep publicly accessible records of all buyouts). (Read The full text of the new tenant buyout law).

Summary of San Francisco’s New Short-Term Rental Law

The new law makes vacation rentals in San Francisco clearly illegal in most situations, and empowers neighbors and tenants groups to take the lead in shutting them down. Here is a summary.

Owner Occupancy and Ellis Act Evictions

Must a renter leave at lease end? Can an owner evict a tenant to move in? What is the Ellis Act and how does it work? Can a renter waive rent control rights?

Update on Proposed Ellis Act Reforms

A summary of four 2014 proposed laws at the state and local level that would prevent or restrict
Ellis Act evictions.

San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance

The complete text of San Francisco’s rent and eviction control law. Understand which buildings are under rent control, when and how much rent can be increased, and how tenants can be evicted. (532 KBytes, PDF)

San Francisco Rent Board Regulations

More details of San Francisco rent control including whether and when roommates are covered by rent and eviction controls, and how rent can be increased based on an owner’s increased costs. (512 KBytes, PDF)