Today’s blog focuses on single family homes and condos in San Francisco, particularly the way rental laws apply to them. You can take a look at the blog we wrote in 2012 on this topic. That was Part 1. Here’s an update, or a Part 2, which summarizes the laws you need to be aware of as a landlord.

Essentially, most single family homes and condominiums are exempt from San Francisco’s rent control ordinance. There is one exception: if your tenant moved in prior to 1996, then that home or condo is subject to the local rent control laws. All other single family homes and condo properties are not bound to that law.

Your single family home or condominium will be subject to the eviction control laws, however. It’s going to be very hard for you to terminate a tenancy. At the end of a one year lease, that agreement must automatically go to a month to month arrangement. You cannot put an end date into your rental agreement. For example, if you are moving away and going on assignment for two years and you know you’ll want that place back, you cannot write anything into the lease that requires the tenant to move out when you return.

You can do what’s called an owner move-in eviction. This is expensive. You will need to get an attorney and you will need to pay a relocation fee to your tenants. Right now, that fee is $5,100 per person and it maxes out at about $16,000. This means it can cost you up to $20,000 just to move back into your own home.

Another potential situation is that you move out of your home and then rent it out for a while. Maybe after a few years, you want to sell that property. You’ll probably want to get that tenant out of your property before you put it on the market, so you can paint and clean it out and get it ready for potential buyers. Well, you can’t. You can negotiate with the tenant and offer to buy them out, but they do not have to accept your offer. There is no 60 Day Notice you can send to terminate the tenancy.

If you want to rent out your home or condominium in San Francisco, it’s important to know these distinctions. One final exception to all this is for newer condominiums in San Francisco and single family homes built after June of 1979. Those homes are exempt from rent control and eviction control. So, if you have a newer property, you don’t have to worry about these laws. However, if your property was built before 1979, you are subject to eviction control.

If you have any questions about what can be a very confusing legal landscape, please contact us at Gordon Property Management.