Rent Board Housing Inventory Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A new law passed by the City and County of San Francisco requires all residential property owners to provide certain information to the Rent Board about their property each year. In addition, the law creates new licensing requirements for landlords. Read more in this FAQ.

What is the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

A new law passed by the City and County of San Francisco requires all property owners to provide certain information to the Rent Board about their residential properties each year. The reporting requirements apply to all residential units in San Francisco, including single-family homes, vacant units, and owner-occupied units.

In addition, the law created a new licensing requirement for San Francisco landlords. Property owners who report that a unit is tenant-occupied will receive a rent increase “license” that allows them to impose annual allowable and banked rent increases. Landlords who have not fulfilled their reporting requirements will not receive a license and will not be permitted to impose annual allowable and banked rent increases on a tenant until reporting is completed.

 

Why did I receive a Rent Board Housing Inventory Informational Notice?

City records indicate that you own a residential property in San Francisco and are therefore required to report information about your unit(s) into the Rent Board Housing Inventory.

 

When is reporting due?

Owners of properties with 10+ residential units were required to begin reporting on July 1, 2022 with updates required each March 1 thereafter. For all other residential properties, the reporting requirements begin on March 1, 2023 with updates required each March 1 thereafter. Property owners may report information about their units into the Rent Board’s website Portal beginning on November 1, 2022 in order to comply with the March 1, 2023 deadline. 

While no monetary penalties are assessed for late reporting after these deadlines, property owners who have tenants will not receive a rent increase license and will not be eligible to impose annual allowable and/or banked rent increases until reporting is completed.

 

What information must be reported into the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

For all units, the owner must report the mailing address of the unit and whether the unit is:

  1. vacant; 
  2. occupied exclusively by an owner of the property;
  3. occupied by a “non-owner” (e.g. tenant, family member, guest); or
  4. non-residential (the property is not legally warranted or used for any residential purpose. 

Depending on the occupancy type, the owner may also be required to report:

  1. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the unit
  2. The approximate square footage of the unit 
  3. The approximate date when the current occupancy or vacancy commenced
  4. The amount of "base" rent paid by the tenant (if applicable)
  5. The owner’s business contact or person designated by the owner to address repairs in the unit  
  6. The business registration number for the unit (Does not apply to buildings with less than 4 units)

*The information reported into the Rent Board Housing Inventory is used for informational purposes and is not verified by the Rent Board.

 

How do I report information about my property into the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

Reporting can be done online using the Rent Board’s secure website Portal, which can also be used to pay annual Rent Board Fees during the yearly Fee cycle.  Property owners who wish to submit information into the Housing Inventory Portal must provide an email address to register an account. The Portal is best accessed using the most updated versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

While property owners are strongly encouraged to use the Rent Board's web Portal to submit their information, paper forms are also available. Note that submission of paper forms may cause significant delays in processing your information.   

 

I own a building that contains five or more residential units, do I have to submit information individually for each unit?

For properties with five or more residential units, unit information may be reported in bulk using the Housing Inventory Excel template (download instruction in the Portal). Note that the Excel template is not recommended for users unfamiliar with Microsoft Excel or for properties containing a small number of units. Instead, we recommend using the Portal’s “Individual Unit” submission form to report information about your units individually. Please refer to this User Guide for assistance with completing the Excel template.

 

What is the PIN on the Rent Board Housing Inventory Informational Notice I received in the mail?

There is a PIN associated with each Assessor’s Parcel Number (block/lot). This PIN will be on the Rent Board Housing Inventory Informational Notice you received in the mail and is required to submit information into the Inventory in the Portal. If you own multiple properties, you will receive a separate Informational Notice and PIN number for each Assessor's Parcel Number.

 

 

I lost or never received the Rent Board Housing Inventory Notice and want to submit the required information.  How do I get a PIN for my property?

Please call the 311 Customer Service Center by dialing 3-1-1 or 415-701-2311 (from outside the 415 area code) to get a new PIN.

 

 

A Rent Board Housing Inventory Informational Notice was mailed to me, but I don’t own the property anymore.

Please email rentboard.inventory@sfgov.org with the subject heading: "Rent Board Housing Inventory: Change of Ownership," and include the property address and the APN (Assessor's Parcel Number) with all information you have that documents the change of ownership. If possible, please include a copy of the Rent Board Housing Inventory Informational Notice in the email.

 

What if I do not know the exact square footage of the unit?

The size of each unit must be reported in increments of 250 square feet (0-250 sq./ft, 251-500 sq./ft, etc.). Please estimate the square footage to the best of your ability.  You may be able to access this information by viewing public property records at the San Francisco Planning Department’s Property Information Map.  If no information is available, the total livable square footage for the property/building may be used to estimate the approximate square footage of a specific unit.  The data collected through the Rent Board Housing Inventory is for informational purposes and will not be utilized to establish property value by the City.

 

What if I do not know the exact date the occupancy or vacancy commenced?

In the absence of a lease or other written document memorializing the date an occupancy or vacancy commenced, an owner may rely on any available information to estimate the commencement date to the best of their ability, including a certificate of estoppel or a verbal statement from the tenant. If approximate information cannot be ascertained, an owner or manager may state that the commencement date is unknown, and provide an explanation as to why the information is unknown (e.g., the occupancy/vacancy commenced prior to the owner/manager taking ownership or responsibility for the property).

 

What is a tenant’s "base" rent?

For tenant-occupied units, the owner must report the tenant’s current monthly base rent in $250 increments ($2,001-$2,250, $2,251-$2,500, etc.).  Base rent is the monthly rent paid by the tenant for all housing and housing services provided by the landlord, but does not include any temporary or fluctuating charges or passthroughs.

 

How is a bedroom or bathroom defined?

For the purpose of the Housing Inventory's reporting requirements only, “bedroom” is defined as a room primarily used for sleeping which includes a closet and an accessible fire exit, and “bathroom” is defined as a room containing a bathtub, tub or shower compartment; water closet and lavatory or other similar facilities provided immediately adjacent thereto.

 

What are the consequences if an owner does not timely report the required information into the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

If a landlord fails to report information about a rental unit into the Rent Board Housing Inventory, the landlord will not receive a rent increase license and will not be eligible to impose annual allowable and/or banked rent increases on a tenant.

If a tenant receives a notice of rent increase that goes into effect while the landlord is unlicensed, the tenant may file a Tenant Summary Petition with the Rent Board. A Tenant Summary Petition must be accompanied by a copy of the landlord's notice of rent increase and a statement as to why the tenant believes the rent increase should not be allowed. The Summary Petition process does not usually require a hearing. Upon receipt of a Summary Petition, a staff person will contact the landlord to inform them if the increase is unlawful. Any rent increase under Section 37.3(a)(1)-(2) purporting to be effective while the landlord is unlicensed will render the entire rent increase null and void. (See Rent Board Rules and Regulations Section 13.14)

 

Does the tenant have any involvement with the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

Tenants may (but are not required to) report certain information into the Rent Board Housing Inventory themselves (this function is currently under development).

 

What information is public?

The information reported into the Rent Board Housing Inventory is public record under California State law.  While the mailing address used by the property owner for property tax purposes is kept private, the owner’s business contact or person designated by the owner to address repairs in the unit is a public record. The names of tenants are not collected by the Rent Board Housing Inventory.

 

Where can I read more about the law that created the Rent Board Housing Inventory?

The complete text of Ordinance No. 265-20 can be found here. In addition, the Rent Board has enacted Rules and Regulations to implement the Ordinance (See Rent Board Rules and Regulations, Part XIII).

 

Rent Board Housing Inventory Checklist

For Owner-Occupied and Non-Residential Units:

"Owner-Occupied" means a unit that is occupied by an owner of the property on either a full-time or part-time basis and is not rented for any period of time

  Owner must provide their name and confirm the unit is owner-occupied or non-residential under penalty of perjury

  Owner will not be required to report any further information until the following year

 

For Units that are Vacant or Occupied by a Non-Owner:

  Name and business contact information for the owner must be provided, or contact information for a property manager/agent designated by the owner to address habitability issues

  Business registration number for the unit, if any

  Approximate square footage of unit in 250 square foot increments

  Number of bedrooms

  Number of bathrooms

  If the unit is Occupied- date current occupancy began

  If the unit is Occupied - the amount of base rent paid by the occupant, reported in $250.00 increments, and whether the base rent includes payments of any utilities by the landlord

  If the unit is Vacant- date current vacancy began

  The start and ends dates of any other vacancies or occupancies that have occurred during the previous 12 months

Last updated November 23, 2022

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