Find out if San Francisco's rental laws apply to you

The San Francisco Rent Ordinance offers eviction and rent control protections for most tenants. Learn about the law and what it means for you as a tenant or landlord.

Who's covered

Full protection

Under the law, tenants in most residential units in San Francisco have eviction protection and rent control protection.

This means that a landlord:

  • May only evict the tenant if the landlord has “just cause”
  • May only increase the tenant’s rent by a certain percentage each year

Partial protection

Tenants in the following units have eviction protections, but do not have rent control protections:

To find out when your building was built, search your address on the Property Information Map

No protection

Tenants in the following units are not covered by local eviction or rent control protections:

Eviction protections

If a tenant has eviction protections, the landlord may only evict the tenant if they have a "just cause" reason.

A landlord may have just cause if:

  • The tenant fails to pay rent or is often late with payment
  • The tenant breaks the terms of their rental agreement or uses the rental unit for an illegal reason
  • The tenant interferes with others' comfort, safety, or enjoyment of the building
  • The landlord plans to move into the unit or move an immediate family member in
  • The landlord plans to convert the unit into a condo and sell it
  • The landlord plans to perform work to improve the unit that will make the unit unlivable during construction (the tenant must be allowed to reoccupy the unit immediately after the work is completed)
  • The landlord plans to remove all rental units in a building from the rental market under the state Ellis Act

Learn more about evictions.

Rent control

If a tenant has rent control protection, the landlord can only increase the tenant's rent by a certain percentage each year.

In some cases, a landlord may need to raise rent by more than the allowed amount. They must file a landlord petition before giving tenants notice. In other cases, a tenant may want to dispute a rent increase or request a rent reduction by filing a tenant petition.

We will review either petition and resolve the matter through a hearing or mediation.

The California Tenant Protection Act

Even if a unit is not covered by San Francisco's eviction or rent control laws, the California Tenant Protection Act (a California State law) may provide the tenants some protections. Please note that the Rent Board cannot enforce State law and does not conduct hearings on disputes concerning the California Tenant Protection Act. 

Tags: Topic 017

Last updated December 7, 2022