Dave’s here to answer your questions every Wednesday, so send them to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, here’s what to make sure to include in your letter.
My husband and I have lived in our SF apartment for two years this summer and we have two questions. (our unit was built before 1979)
We recently found out we are pregnant- if my lease limits occupancy to 2, will that give my landlord the right to kick us out?
She also recently increased our rent from 2045 to 2094.08 (yea…8 cents). Is she legally allowed to do that if she has not raised the rent last year and we are month to month? I know it’s a small difference but I thought she could only raise it by 1.9%?
The answer to your first question is: No! Absolutely not!
The California legislature has made it crystal clear that we do not tolerate discrimination against families with children or pregnant women with respect to housing. The California Fair Housing and Employment Act provides:
It shall be unlawful [f]or the owner of any housing accommodation to discriminate against or harass any person because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or disability of that person. (California G0vernment Code ??12955(a))
For purposes of this part, “familial status” means one or more individuals under 18 years of age who reside with a parent, another person with care and legal custody of that individual, a person who has been given care and custody of that individual by a state or local governmental agency that is responsible for the welfare of children, or the designee of that parent or other person with legal custody of any individual under 18 years of age by written consent of the parent or designated custodian.
The protections afforded by this part against discrimination on the basis of familial status also apply to any individual who is pregnant , who is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual under 18 years of age, or who is in the process of being given care and custody of any individual under 18 years of age by a state or local governmental agency responsible for the welfare of children. (California G0vernment Code ??12955.2)
The answer to your second question is “Yes,” if you are beginning the third year of your tenancy.
The San Francisco Rent Ordinance allows for “banked” rent increases. If, at the inception of your tenancy (for ease of reference I’ll use March 1, 2010) and your rent was $2,045 per month, your landlord would have been allowed to increase the rent .5% to $2055.23 on March 1, 2011. The next year on March 1, 2012, she could increase the rent 1.9% to $2,094.27.
Instead, she waited to impose the .5% increase this year. The law provides that a landlord cannot compound the interest for banked rent increases so she added allowable increases for year one and year two together to raise your rent 2.4%. A quick check of the math reveals that’s exactly what she did–$2,045 X 1.024 = $2,094.08.
Yippee, yea! By waiting to increase the rent one year, your landlord saved you 19 cents per month! In landlord tenant relationships, it’s always good to savor the small, positive outcomes. They are few and far between.
Dave Crow is an attorney who specializes in San Francisco landlord tenant law. However, the opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author, do not constitute legal advice, and the information is general in nature. Consult the advice of an attorney for any specific problem. You understand that no attorney-client relationship will exist with Dave Crow or his firm, Crow & Rose unless they have agreed to represent you. You should not respond to this site with any information that you believe is highly confidential.
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