rent-neg_lede.jpgIt’s time, local real estate blogger Luba Muzichenko reminds us, for San Francisco’s annual rent increase. So what’s the damage this year, and is it reasonable for landlords to expect it from tenants?

Beginning March 1, 2011, the Rent Board tells us, landlords can increase the rent on most rent controlled properties (that is, most apartments in buildings that were constructed before June 13, 1979) by 0.5%.

“In accordance with Rules and Regulations Section 1.12,” they say “this amount is based on 60% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose region for the 12-month period ending October 31, which was 0.9% as posted in November 2010 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Hmm, last thing I expected was to be nostalgic for last year, when the increase was only 0.1%

For a bit of perspective, I turned to real estate expert Philip Ferrato, Contributing Editor for Curbed SF. Do the poorer among us, I asked him, need to stress about this year’s increase breaking the bank?

“This year’s rent increase is .05%, or $5.00 a month per $1000.00, or $60.00. If you feel the need to negotiate that, you need to get out more often, especially since it’s only .01% next year. Or find a cheaper apartment,” Ferrato said.

He hastens to add that “like anything else to do with real estate in San Francisco, it’s complicated. You may be entitled to an exemption from the increase but don’t know it- in which case it’s worth researching. Here’s a good place to start.”

So, wait, I have no chance of convincing my landlord that my rent should go down, not up?

Apparently, I’m out of luck, as Ferrato says that, in his estimation, “re-negotiating your lease is so 2009. Occupancy rates are up, landlords are under less pressure, and tech companies are hiring. That ship has sailed.”

All that said, if you do think your landlord’s trying to pull a fast one on you, we have a tenants rights columnist right here at the Appeal, you can reach him at

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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