In San Francisco, you have to allow your roommates to add new and additional roommates. If one roommate moves out, you have to allow your tenants to get a replacement roommate.
Replacement Roommates as Unauthorized Subtenants
It’s important that you do not recognize the new replacement roommate as a tenant. Do not collect an application or a rent check from those new roommates. You don’t even want to take a maintenance request. You have to treat them as unauthorized subtenants. This is important, because in San Francisco, you can raise the rent to market once the property becomes vacant. So, once your original tenants, or master tenants, have moved out, you can bring your rental unit up to market rent. You can keep the unauthorized sub tenants in place if you want to rent to them and negotiate a new rent. Or, you can tell them to move out. It gives you more flexibility if you treat new roommates as subtenants.
Occupancy Numbers in San Francisco
In 2015, the Board of Supervisors passed the Jane Kim legislation, which basically says landlords have to allow as many occupants in an apartment that health and safety standards will support. That generally mean two people per bedroom plus one. So in a one bedroom property, you have to allow three people to live there. In a two bedroom apartment, you have to allow five people to live there. It doesn’t matter what the lease agreement says.
Remember that this only applies to properties that are subject to the San Francisco rent control ordinance, which would be any property built before June 14, 1979.