Overview of Landlord Petitions
For certain types of rent increases, landlords must file a petition at the Rent Board before serving the tenants with a notice of the increase. The tenants are not required to pay the increase until the Rent Board approves it, but if approved, the rent increase will be retroactive to the effective date specified in a valid notice of increase.
There are six types of rent increases that require the filing of a landlord petition. These are:
- Capital Improvement Passthrough;
- Operating and Maintenance Expense Increase;
- Special Circumstances Increase Based on Rents for Comparable Units;
- Rent Increase Based on the Past Rent History of a Proposition I Affected Unit;
- Utility Passthrough (requires the filing of either a petition or a worksheet); and
- Rules and Regulations Section 1.21 Increase where there is no Tenant in Occupancy.
A landlord is also required to file a petition for a Rent Board determination of:
A landlord may elect to file a petition requesting the Rent Board to determine:
- whether a rent increase under Ordinance Section 37.3(d) (the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act) and/or Rules and Regulations Section 6.14 is justified;
- whether a property or rental unit is exempt from the Rent Ordinance;
- whether a tenant is entitled to protected status from an owner/relative move-in eviction under Ordinance Section 37.9(i)(4) or 37.9(j)(3); or
- whether to approve a supplemental hotel visitor policy for an SRO.
In addition, a landlord may elect to file a petition for a Rent Board determination of the tenant’s current lawful rent, provided that the landlord has evidence of the complete rent history for the tenancy. A landlord may also file a petition for a Rent Board determination of the amount of the rent reduction to which the tenant is entitled when the landlord severs, reduces or removes certain housing services supplied in connection with the use or occupancy of a unit, such as parking, storage or specified common areas.
Landlords are not required to file petitions for Rent Board approval of rent increases based on general obligation bond measure passthroughs or water revenue bond passthroughs or certain utility passthroughs. However, the landlord must use the worksheet forms provided by the Rent Board to calculate these rent increases and must file completed Utility Passthrough Calculation Worksheets with the Rent Board before serving the tenants with a notice of rent increase for the utility passthrough.
There is no charge for filing petitions. In certain capital improvement or substantial rehabilitation cases, if it is determined that an independent estimator’s report is needed, the Rent Board does collect an estimator’s fee from the landlord.
Please note that the Rent Board cannot arbitrate matters that are not part of the Rent Ordinance. For example, we do not have jurisdiction to adjudicate alleged breaches of a rental agreement. Such matters must be decided in court.