What Landlords Need to Know When Petitioning the San Francisco Rent Board

Understanding San Francisco’s many rules and regulations regarding rent control can often times be rather confusing. Then, add in the various landlord petitions and you’re likely to go mad trying to understand everything in front of you.

Properties in San Francisco tend to be older, and therefore require more upkeep in order to maintain the structure of the home. With more and more restrictions being placed on landlords regarding rent increases, improvements over time tend to be costly.

Luckily, to help curb that cost, owners can petition the Rent Board for certain areas above the annual allowed amount they are eligible for each year. Additionally, San Francisco allows property owners to pass through all, or a portion, of improvements made to the building to their tenants.

In order to do this, owners have to file either the appropriate documentation in the form of a  Capital Improvement Petition or Operating and Maintenance Petition with the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board for certification.

Often these petitions involve a lot of paperwork and time, so it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional company experienced in San Francisco passthroughs to facilitate the process for you.

After compiling all needed documentation and completing the required paperwork the landlord will be required to present their case in front of an Administrative Law Judge.

Many owners tend to be hesitant about appearing before the Rent Board, but from our experience, here at Property Management Systems in San Francisco, judges are very fair and administer the law in accordance with the ordinance.

During the hearing, the property owner may answer questions regarding the documentation provided, and depending upon the relationship you have with your tenants, they may appear before the judge as well to dispute certification of the passthrough.

After, the judge will either close the record or leave it open if additional information is required. Once the information is given, the record will close. Owners will then receive a decision either granting or denying them what was asked for, and this process can take anywhere from 14 days to 3 months; depending on the type of petition and how lengthy it was.

If a petition has been certified, it is then in the tenant’s rights to either accept or appeal the decision. If the tenant chooses to appeal the decision, all previous documentation involved is then put in front of the Rent Board Commission which is made up of two landlords, two tenants and one neutral.

From there, they’ll either remand it to go back, deny it or accept the appeal as presented. Additionally, depending on the circumstance, they may have another hearing.

Petitioning the Rent Board is a demanding process and not one you want to take on alone. So, you will want to hire an expert passthrough company like Property Management Systems to manage the ins and outs for you.

San Francisco already has so many limitations for landlords, so why not take advantage of an opportunity to put some of that money back into your pocket.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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