Annual rent increase for multiple years

How much a landlord can raise rent over two or more years.

The following page describes how to calculate a rent increases in one of two situations:

  1. A landlord is raising rent exactly two or more years since the last rent increase

  2. The landlord has never applied a rental increase, and the landlord is raising a unit’s rent exactly two or more years since the tenant moved in

In these situations, landlords may increase rent by adding up the allowable increases during that time period

For example, consider an apartment where the tenants moved in on September 1, 2016. If a unit’s monthly rent is $1500 and a landlord wants to raise rent on September 1, 2020, the landlord can use the following sheet to add up the previous four years of allowable increases.

This would mean the landlord can increase rent by 8.2% (2.2% + 1.6% + 2.6% + 1.8% = 8.2%). This means multiplying $1500 by 8.2% (or .082). Doing so means the landlord can raise the monthly rent by $123.

The same methodology would be applied if, for example, the last time the landlord raised the tenant’s rent was on September 1, 2016. The landlord can apply the same 8.2% increase on September 1, 2020.

Other considerations

Increases cannot be compounded

Landlords are not required to file a petition with the City to impose these types of rent increases

Landlords cannot “round up” to the nearest dollar when calculating rent increases

Landlords must give at least 30-days notice in writing before any increase goes into effect (or 35-days if sent by mail).

Landlords can only increase the rent on “base rent” and cannot include any “passthrough charges” (such as water bonds, tax bonds, improvement costs) in the increase calculation.  However, rent paid for parking or storage space is generally considered part of “base rent.”

Landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months. In other words, landlords cannot raise the rent on a unit within 12 months of the prior rent increase (or move-in date). The only exception is when rent is temporarily increased due to improvements on the building.

Disclaimer

The following is a basic summary and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions about your situation, please contact a SF Rent Board Counselor or visit www.sfrb.org for more information.

Last updated June 29, 2020

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