Annual rent increases

How much a landlord can raise rent year over year.

The following page describes how to calculate an allowable rent increase in one of two situations:

  1. A landlord is raising rent exactly one year since the last rental increase

  2. The landlord has never applied a rental increase, and the landlord is raising a unit’s rent exactly one year after the tenant moved in

In these situations, landlords may only increase rent by this year’s annual allowable increase

For example, consider a unit where the tenants moved in on September 1, 2017. If the unit’s monthly rent is $1,500, and a landlord wants to raise rent on September 1, 2018, the landlord can raise rent 1.6%. This means multiplying $1,500 by 1.6% (or .016). Doing so means the landlord can raise the monthly rent by $24.

The same methodology would be applied if, for example, the tenant has lived in a unit for a decade, but the landlord last raised the rent on September 1, 2017. The landlord can apply the same 1.6% increase on September 1, 2018.

Other considerations

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 rent on the “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 30, 2020

Departments