© 2018 by Isaac Safier, Esq.

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(415) 967-0125

Landlord-Tenant Law

 

 

Rent Controlled Apartments (San Francisco):
 
If your apartment is subject to rent control (most units built before 1979 within the city of San Francisco), you have a number of rights that you may not know about.  With the new Tenant Protections 2.0, described below, you now have even more rights.  Most importantly, you have the right to file petitions and be hear by the San Francisco Rent Board, which is an adminstrative law court.  The rent control laws are extremely complicated and constantly changing.  If you live in a rent controlled apartment in San Francisco we can help you with:
 

  • Negotiating a buy-out  (get out of your lease)

  • 3 days notices, 30 day notices, cure or quit notices

  • 1.21 Hearings

  • Costa Hawkins notices

  • Harassment by your landlord

  • Nuisance claims

  • Noise disputes with your neighbors

  • 3 day notices for breach of lease by subletting

  • Wrongfully withheld security deposits

  • Evictions that lack Just Cause

  • Warranty of Habitability claims (Landlord refuses to repair)

  • Comfort Pets and your right to have a comfort animal

  • Discrimination by your landlord

  • Unresponsive landlords

  • Co-tenant disputes

  • Subtenant disputes

  • Lodgers (people who occupy one room in a home)

  • Non-tenant ex's who won't leave

  • Landlords who won't let you move family members in

  • Planning Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Building Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Unauthorized alterations or repairs

  • Rent Board Hearings of pretty much any kind

 

 

 

WANT TO FIND OUT IF YOUR APARTMENT IS RENT CONTROLLED?

 

SAN FRANCISCO:  Call the San Francisco Rent Board at (415) 252-4600
OAKLAND:  Call the Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238-3721 


 
Non-Rent Controlled Apartments:
 
Even if you are not subject to rent control, either because you live in a newer building, certain condos, certain decontrolled buildings, or outside of a rent controlled city, we can still help you protect your rights and avoid unfair treatment.  If you rent in California you are subject to CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 1940-1954.1 and have lots of rights under the code.  Without rent control your lease can be terminated without cause but we can still help you with the following:
 

  • Negotiating a lease break (get out of your lease)

  • 3 days notices, 30 day notices, cure or quit notices

  • Harassment by your landlord

  • Nuisance claims

  • Noise disputes with your neighbors

  • 3 day notices for breach of lease by subletting

  • Wrongfully withheld security deposits

  • Jacked up security deposit deductions

  • Warranty of Habitability claims (Landlord refuses to repair)

  • Comfort Pets and your right to have a comfort animal

  • Discrimination by your landlord

  • Unresponsive landlords

  • Co-tenant disputes

  • Subtenant disputes

  • Lodgers (people who occupy one room in a home)

  • Non-tenant ex's who won't leave

  • Planning Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Building Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Unauthorized alterations or repairs

 
Commercial Tenants:
 
As a commercial tenant you don't have all the special statutory rights that residential tenants enjoy, but are still entitled to the terms of your lease agreement.  Disputes can arise between you and a commercial landlord about a number of different issues that we can help with:
 

  • Negotiating a lease break 

  • Disputes about lease terms

  • Negotiating and drafting leases, lease extensions, addendums, assignments

  • Unresponsive landlords

  • 3 day, 10 day and 30 day notices

  • Nuisance notices, Nuisance claims, Nuisance evictions

  • Security Deposit withholding or excessive deductions

  • Key money or subletting disputes

  • Tenant improvement disputes

  • Disputes about fixtures or appurtenances

  • Planning Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Building Dept. based nuisance claims

  • Unauthorized alterations or repair

 
 

DO YOU HAVE A HABITABILITY CLAIM?

 

6 Tips for Building Your Case:

 

If you expect to go to court over and issue it is important to document that issue very thoroughly so that you have substantial evidence to present at court.  There are many ways to document issues that may come up in your land-lord tenant case but I believe the following are the most helpful:

 

1.  Keep a journal.  Write down every relevant event that you can recall along with the time and date.  It should look like this:

 

December 1, 20__:  I saw ____ happen.  I made a verbal complaint to _______ by calling him at the following number ________.  He said ______.

 

2.  Take pictures.  If you are using an iPhone or Android, the EXIF meta-data is saved with each picture.  This data can contain useful things such as the time and date that the pictures were taken and also the device you were using and sometimes even the location that the picture was taken.  

 

3.  Make audio and video recordings.  Video recordings can be used in a multi-media presentation in mediation, arbitration and may even be used in court.  Audio recordings can be helpful to authenticate claims as well.  Make sure you are not violating any eavedropping laws by recording confidential conversations.  Eavesdropping is a crime and any recordings made in violation of eavesdropping laws cannot be used in court.  See California Penal Code 632 PC.

 

4.  Get city departments and officials invovled.  When you call the health dept. or dept. of building inspection they will send and inspector to see the conditions in your home.  If the landlord is responsible they will issue a NOV (Notice of Violation) that typically gives the landlord 30 days to correct a problem.  You can also call anonymously.  

 

San Francisco:

Call 3-1-1 and ask to make a complaint with the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) and San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH):

1390 Market Street, Suite 210
San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours:  Monday - Friday, 8:30am - Noon & 1:00 - 4:30pm
Office: (415) 252-3800
Fax: (415) 252-3875

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI):

Housing Inspection Services
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
(415) 558-6220
 http://dbiweb.sfgov.org/dbi_complaints/

Oakland:  
City of Oakland Department of Building Inspection
Mailing Address:  P. O. Box 220511, St. Louis, MO  63122
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

City Administrator, Deborah LeMoine
Phone:  314-416-0026
Fax:  314-416-0027
E-Mail:  oaklandcityhall@sbcglobal.net

 

5.  Put everything in writing.  Stop making repair requests or complaints by phone.  Instead, put them in certified letters and keep copies.  At very least put your communication in e-mail.

 

6.  Keep copies of all important or relevant documents.  You can scan them into your phone using the app GeniusScan.  [Click here for Apple]  [Click here for Andriod]

 

Contact Me

FOR A CONSULTATION

​​

(415) 967-0125

Isaac Safier, Esq.
345 Franklin St.

San Francisco, CA 94102

​​

EMAIL

IsaacSafier@gmail.com

 

FAX

(415) 789-4305

Video About Tenant Protections 2.0:

*NEW* Tenant Protections 2.0 (SF)

 

Effective November 9, 2015:

 

"Supervisor Jane Kim's Eviction Protections 2.0" is a new law that went into effect on November 9, 2015 after the Mayor failed to veto it on October 9, 2015.  The new law amends the San Francisco rent ordinance and is intended to slow down the rate of evictions in San Francisco by making it harder for landlords to evict tenants.  The full text can be found in full below.  Here is a summary:

 

  • An eviction based on nuisance, substantial damage, or substantial interference must show it was  severe, continuing or recurring in nature.  In other words, landlords can no longer do "Gotcha" nuisance evictions, where tenants are evicted for breaking minor lease rules or house rules.  

  • No matter what your lease says, your landlord cannot evict you for adding an additional occupant if allowed by state law or local code (they can petition the Rent Board for additional costs).

    • Studio:  2 people

    • One-Bedroom:  3 people

    • Two-Bedroom:  4 people

    • Three-Bedroom:  6 people

    • Four-Bedroom:  8 People

    • Or Max permitted by state law or other local code

  • Landlord can't raise the rent on future tenants for 5 years if you were evicted by Owner Move-in, Condo Conversion, or Ellis Act.  (See Rent Ordinance 37.9- Evictions)

  • Dominant Motive of Landlord is made more important in Eviction cases. 

  • Certain Eviction Notices must be served with a Rent Board form in several different languages.  

 

To see this on the city's server, click here: TENANT PROTECTIONS 2.0. 

*NEW* California Bed Bug Laws:

 

Effective January 1, 2017:

 

AB 551: Bed Bugs

AB 551 establishes policies and procedures to address the problem of bedbugs in rental housing by:
 

-Requiring a notice with specific language to be provided to new tenants.
-Prohibits landlord from renting or even showing a unit with an active infestation.
-Landlords are required to create a "bedbug management plan".
-Restrictions on retaliatory evictions against Tenants who have reported bed bugs.  

Here is the full text of the new California law:
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB551

 

*NEW* California Mold Law:

 

Effective January 1, 2017:

 

SB 655: New Mold Law for all of California

 

- Landlord is not obligated to repair a dilapidation relating to mold, as specified, until he or she has notice of it or if the tenant is in violation of specified affirmative obligations.

- Landlord can enter a dwelling to repair a dilapidation relating to mold, under specified conditions.

- Mold is now defined under Section 17920.3 of the Health and Safety Code, which defines it as:  Visible mold growth, as determined by a health officer or a code enforcement officer, as defined in Section 829.5 of the Penal Code, excluding the presence of mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of their properly functioning and intended use.

- In other words, the law now says that visible mold growth, excepting mold that is minor and found on surfaces that can accumulate moisture as part of their proper and intended use, is a type of inadequate sanitation and therefore a substandard condition. The bill would define mold as microscopic organisms or fungi that can grow in damp conditions in the interior of a building.  

This means that a health officer or code enforcement officer can determine if you legally have a mold issue.  

Here is the full text of the new California law:

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB655