Report an unlawful rent increase or request a review of your rent history

If you believe a rent increase is unlawful or want to know if your current rent is lawful, you may file a petition alleging an unlawful rent increase and/or requesting a determination of the lawful rent.

What to do

1. Fill out the Tenant Petition

Complete all three pages of the Tenant Petition Form

Provide the requested information about your rental unit. 

Provide contact information for yourself and all of the following that apply:

  • Your lawyer or representative
  • The building owner
  • The property manager or management company
  • Your landlord's lawyer or representative

On page 3, check Box "C" indicating that you are filing a petition for an unlawful rent increase.

Print your name, sign and date the declaration on the bottom of Page 3.

2. Fill out Form C

Carefully read the instructions on Form C, pages 1-C, 2-C, and 3-C.

If you are only contesting a market rate rent increase that was imposed pursuant to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act or Rules and Regulations §6.14, you do not need to provide your full rent history on Form C, page 2-C, but you do need to complete the Costa-Hawkins/§6.14 Rent Increase Statement on Form C, page 3-C.

Attach documents to your petition that show the date and amount of any relevant rent increases, such as the original lease, rent increase notices, rent receipts, money order receipts and/or canceled rent checks.

3. Submit your form by email, mail, or in-person

Rent Board

25 Van Ness Avenue
Suite #320
San Francisco, CA 94102

The office is open for drop-in services Monday through Friday 10:00AM - 2:00PM. 

4. What happens next

  • Once a petition is determined to be complete, the Rent Board sends a copy of the petition to the landlord and any other parties named in the petition.

  • Usually within a few months after the petition is filed, it will be scheduled for an arbitration hearing before a Rent Board Administrative Law Judge. The Rent Board sends a Notice of Hearing to all parties and representatives at least 10 days before the hearing date.

  • Requests for postponements must be submitted in writing and will be granted only when there is good cause, such as travel plans made prior to receipt of the Notice of Hearing. Evidence of conflicting plans must be submitted with the request for postponement.

  • The hearing process is designed so that no one needs an attorney, although parties are entitled to have an attorney or other authorized representative assist them at the hearing. The parties or their representatives are permitted to present testimony and evidence, and to cross-examine the other parties and their witnesses. The Administrative Law Judge may also ask questions of the parties and witnesses to ensure that all pertinent facts are brought out. The record may be held open for the submission of additional evidence after the hearing.
  • The Administrative Law Judge is not permitted to speak to anyone privately about the case or to consider evidence outside of the official record. Nor can the judge consider evidence that is not served on the other parties. Therefore, all submissions to the Administrative Law Judge before and after the hearing should also be provided to the other parties. If you're evidence is submitted to the Rent Board by email, it is sufficient to copy the opposing side on your email. 

  • After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will issue a written decision that will be mailed to all the parties and their representatives. If no appeal is filed, the decision becomes final. If an appeal is filed, portions of the decision may be stayed until the Rent Board Commission acts on the appeal.

Tags: Topic 354

Get help

Rent Board

25 Van Ness Avenue
Suite #320
San Francisco, CA 94102

The office is open for drop-in services Monday through Friday 10:00AM - 2:00PM. 

Phone

Rent Board counselor

Last updated November 9, 2022

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