Which Cities in the Bay Area Have Rent Control, and Why?

If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, you can expect to pay an average of $3,303.00 a month (Learn more here). That’s a big chunk of monthly income for many Bay Area residents and the reason many individuals and families moving to the Bay Area find it impossible to secure affordable housing. And while the price of new rentals in many Bay Area cities is high, the median rent in cities with Read More

What Are Security Deposits and How Can I Get Mine Back?

When you enter a lease for a rental unit, odds are your landlord will ask you for a security deposit.  While a security deposit may be referred to as a “deposit,” “pet deposit,” or “damage deposit,” the law governing its collection, use, and disposition is the same. California’s Security Deposit Law California Civil Code section 1950.5 is the law governing security deposits in California.  A landlord may ask Read More

Why ALL California Tenants Should Vote Yes on Prop 10

Fifteen cities across California have some form of rent control.  But in each of these cities, rent control is limited in scope. In Los Angeles, the program is confined to apartment buildings constructed prior to October 1978.  Similarly, rent control in San Francisco is limited to units in existence as of June 13, 1979--the date the Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance (commonly known as the San Read More

Understanding Loss of Use (Rent Differential) Damages

In the landlord-tenant context, the term “loss of use” refers to one of the most important measures of money damages available to a tenant wrongfully evicted from a rental unit–particularly in a city with rent control (e.g., San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, Mountain View, Richmond, East Palo Alto, Emeryville, and Hayward).  “Loss of use” generally refers to a renter’s inability to reside at a unit the Read More

Attention San Francisco Renters! What the Passing of Prop F Means for You

Although this comes as no surprise to most Bay Area residents, San Francisco is the most expensive city for new renters in the United States.1  The opportunity for profits has motivated unscrupulous landlords to engage in all types of nefarious behaviors to displace otherwise law-abiding tenants from coveted rent-controlled apartments.  These behaviors often culminate in the filing of unlawful detainer (eviction) Read More

Tenant Rights that Cannot Be Signed Away in a Lease

Unless you move straight from your parents’ home or college dorm room into a home you already own, odds are you’re probably going to be signing a lease for residential rental property at some point in your life.  These multipage documents can be so packed with legalese that tenants often just assume the best and sign. Not surprisingly, many Bay Area landlords present tenants with take-it-or-leave-it leases that Read More

Understanding the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment

Under California law, every residential lease contains two implied promises (or “covenants”) that apply regardless of whether they explicitly appear in a rental agreement.  One is the warranty of habitability, which provides that rented properties must meet certain minimum standards of liveability, as set forth in California Civil Code section 1941.1 and California Health and Safety Code sections 17920.3 and Read More

Be a Wary Tenant: Four Signs of Housing Discrimination

It took awhile, but you finally found a clean and spacious one-bedroom apartment in the Mission that you can afford.  According to the property management’s website, the rental unit is available. However, when you call for a viewing, you get an odd response. The property manager seems friendly until you provide an ethnic surname.  The caller begins to hedge and suddenly claims the apartment is rented. One week Read More

The Bay Area is One of the Most Bed Bug-Infested Places in the United States: What to Do Next if You Have a Bed Bug Problem

Anyone who’s ever lived with bed bugs will likely tell you it was one of the worst experiences of his or her life. Bed bugs may not carry disease, but some people react to their bites by developing itchy red welts that resemble flea bites.   Infestations are notoriously difficult to treat.  If not detected early, bed bugs can take over entire buildings, moving easily from one unit to the next.  Unless all infested Read More

Five Tips for Tenants in Search of a Rental Unit After an Eviction

Getting evicted can be devastating, but it doesn’t mean you can never rent again. If your landlord is attempting to recover possession of your rental unit, you may be able to avoid the eviction process entirely if the landlord is engaging in illegal behavior. Contact us to go over your options. If, however, you’ve already been evicted—either formally through an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit or informally Read More