Request a rent reduction for decreased housing services

A tenant may petition the Rent Board for a reduction in rent if the landlord has substantially decreased a housing service without reducing the tenant's rent.

What to do

1. Learn about Housing Services

Find out more about "Housing Services" here. 

2. Fill out the Tenant Petition and Form A

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 "A" indicating that you are filing a petition for a decrease in housing services.

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

On Page 4, read the instructions for completing Form A (page 5).

On Form A (page 5), list the housing services that your landlord has removed or substantially reduced.

For each housing service, describe:

  • When was the housing service decreased or not provided
  • Whether your landlord has restored the housing service
  • How much you you believe your rent should be reduced, per month, for the loss of housing service

When deciding how much of a rent reduction to request, keep in mind that:

  • The judge cannot reduce your monthly rent by more than what you request
  • The total monthly rent reduction you ask for cannot be more than the total monthly rent you pay for your unit

3. Submit your form

Email your form to:

Rent Board

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 320
San Francisco, CA 94102
View location on google maps

The office is open for drop-in services Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

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 a mediation session. The Rent Board sends a Notice of Mediation to all parties and representatives at least 10 days before the mediation date. Mediation sessions are scheduled Monday-Friday at 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM.

  • 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 Mediation. Evidence of conflicting plans must be submitted with the request for postponement.

  • Mediation is a confidential process whereby a neutral party, known as a mediator, meets with people who are in conflict and helps them to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. Unlike a judge, a mediator does not make decisions for the participants. Instead, the parties make their own decisions as to how to resolve their differences. The mediator merely acts as a guide, facilitating communication between the parties. Sometimes, it is productive for the mediator to meet separately with the participants in order to help them analyze their options and evaluate the risks associated with each option.

  • Occasionally, the parties are unable to reach agreement after participating in a mediation session. In such cases, the petition will be scheduled for a separate arbitration hearing, usually within 2-6 months.

  • If your case requires a formal arbitration hearing, you must present evidence proving that your landlord has reduced or removed a housing service that was included in your rent. 
  • If the tenant proves a substantial decrease in housing services, a rent reduction will be granted retroactive to the date the landlord had notice of the decreased housing service. Rent reductions are limited to the one-year period before the petition is filed, unless the tenant proves that the landlord had long-term notice regarding the problem, or it is shown that extraordinary circumstances exist. If the housing service is not restored by the time the decision is issued, the rent reduction will remain in effect until the landlord restores the housing service and gives the tenant proper written notice to increase the rent by the amount of the rent reduction. The Rent Board has no authority to compel the landlord to restore the service, but can only order a rent reduction for the loss of the housing service.

Tags: Topic 352

Get help

Rent Board

25 Van Ness Avenue
Suite #320
San Francisco, CA 94102
View location on google maps

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

Phone

Rent Board counseling line

Last updated November 9, 2022

Department