Tenant Troubles: Did Gavin Newsom Make It Harder For My Boyfriend To Move In With Me?

I recently came across this post from 2011. I’m facing a similar situation (though haven’t gotten to the stage of asking my landlord yet, just want to know my rights before I start the process). I live in a two bedroom, rent controlled apartment, and I’m the only one on the lease. My lease forbids subletting and says I need the landlord’s permission to add occupants.

My boyfriend would like to move in with me so we can both save on rent. I’ve seen references to a law passed in 2009 that you can add roommates even if the lease forbids it. How does that law factor into the response you gave in the article above?

The additional “catch” in my situation is that my boyfriend has 50% custody of his two kids, so they’d be living with us half the time. How do the kids impact the situation? If I go and ask permission to have my boyfriend move in, do I even need to mention the kids?

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Dave’s here to answer your questions every Wednesday, so send them to him at tenant@sfappeal.com. Here’s what to make sure to include in your letter.

The 2009 law referenced in the Los Angeles Times article linked to your question would have barred landlords from increasing rent above 33% of a tenant’s income and allowed tenants to add roommates other than family members to help pay rent. It was passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on June 23, 2009.

The law was later vetoed by the mayor (Now Lt. Governor), Gavin Newsom, the rapacious, oily narcissist and shill for the real estate industry who could occasionally squeeze out a crocodile tear for tenants. If you feel smoke blowing up your ass, it’s because your house is burning down.

You don’t mention if you had roommates in the past. If you did, the process to add your boyfriend would be fairly straightforward. San Francisco Rent Board Rules & Regulations §6.15B provides the procedure for adding a subtenant if the roommate is a one-for-one replacement  of an outgoing roommate. Rent Ordinance §37.9(a)(2)(A) states:

Provided that notwithstanding any lease provision to the contrary, a landlord shall not endeavor to recover possession of a rental unit as a result of subletting of the rental unit by the tenant if the landlord has unreasonably withheld the right to sublet following a written request by the tenant, so long as the tenant continues to reside in the rental unit and the sublet constitutes a one-for-one replacement of the departing tenant(s).  If the landlord fails to respond to the tenant in writing within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the tenant’s written request, the tenant’s request shall be deemed approved by the landlord.

If your boyfriend isn’t replacing a former roommate, you might be better off marrying him.

The Rent Ordinance allows a tenant to add family member, spouse or domestic partner to the tenancy. Rent Ordinance §37.9(a)(2)(B) also provides:

A landlord’s reasonable refusal of the tenant’s written request may not be based on the proposed additional occupant’s lack of creditworthiness, if that person will not be legally obligated to pay some or all of the rent to the landlord.

With respect to your boyfriend’s children, you can also add them to the tenancy under Rent Ordinance §37.9(a)(2)(B) as long as the total number of occupants does not exceed the maximum number of occupants stated in the ordinance. If you case, the maximum allowable number of occupants is four (4) for a two-bedroom unit, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Maybe it’s time to reintroduce the 2009 amendment to understand if the current Supes have any guts and to see how Mr. Lee treats the legislation if it passes.

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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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