You Don’t Have To Move If Your Unit Is Rent-Controlled, Even If Your Lease Is Up

If you live in an apartment or rental unit in San Francisco that is covered by the San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance, you may not be evicted by your landlord, even if your written lease with the landlord has expired. Instead, you have the right to continue your tenancy and your landlord may not seek to terminate your tenancy without a “just cause” reason.

If you are renting a residential unit that was constructed before June 13, 1979, your unit is likely covered by San Francisco Rent Control. However, there are a few types of buildings that are exempt from Rent Control protection even if they were constructed before June 13, 1979. A few of the most common exemptions are:

  • Dwelling units in non-profit cooperatives own, occupied, and controlled by a majority of the residents;

  • Dwelling units solely owned by a nonprofit public benefit corporation governed by a board of directors, the majority of whom are residents of the dwelling units, and where the corporate bylaws require that rent increases be approved by a majority of the residents;

  • Dwelling units that have been permanently removed from rental housing pursuant to the Ellis Act and Ordinance Section 37.3(d);

  • Commercial spaces where there is incidental and infrequent residential use;

  • Housing accommodations in dormitories owned and operated by an institution of higher education, a high school, or elementary school.

If you do reside in a rent-controlled apartment or rental unit, your landlord may only evict you from your unit in limited circumstances where there is a “just cause” reason for eviction. There are 15 just cause reasons for eviction under the Rent Ordinance, Section 37.9(a). The most common just cause reasons are:

  • If you fail to pay your rent;

  • If you breach the terms of your rental agreement or lease;

  • Your landlord initiates a genuine owner-move in or a move-in of a member of the landlord’s immediate family member into your unit

  • Your landlord intends to perform capital improvements which will make your unit temporarily uninhabitable while the work is being performed;

  • Your landlord is withdrawing your rental unit from the rental market under the Ellis Act

  • Your landlord is demolishing or permanently removing your rental unit from housing use;

  • You have otherwise created a nuisance or substantial interference with the landlord or other tenants in the building.

For more information review the San Francisco Rent Ordinance.