Today, we’re talking about what to do if you suspect that your tenant has moved out of your apartment and is subletting it to someone else. If it’s a rent controlled property in San Francisco, you don’t want that to happen. If the tenant’s not living there, you want to bring it up to market rent.

Check Your Lease for a Sublet Clause

The first thing you want to do is check your lease agreement. Make sure you have a no subletting clause. Most professional lease agreements that were written in the last 10 years have this clause, but take a look at yours and make sure.

Property Management San Francisco

If you have a no subletting clause, the burden of proof is on the landlord to show that the tenant is no longer living there. To do that, we pretty much hire a private investigator to track down where the tenant is living, where the tenant is working, where the tenant is registered to vote, and where their car is registered. In some cases, we’ve had to put cameras on the building to show that the tenant hasn’t been there in months.

Increase the Rent

Once you have enough evidence for a credible claim that your tenant is not there, have an attorney prepare a rental increase based on the Costa-Hawkins law. That law says that you can bring rent up to market levels once your tenant is no longer living at the property.

Generally, when we do this at Gordon Property Management, it doesn’t take long for us to receive a 30 Day Notice of Termination from the tenant. They let us know they’re moving out because they’re often willing to sublet their apartment when they can make some money on it, but if they’re required to pay market rent, there’s no incentive to do it.

If you have any questions about a San Francisco sublease agreement or what to do if a tenant is subletting, please contact us at Gordon Property Management. I’d be happy to tell you more about what you should do, or refer you to an attorney.