Articles Tagged with San Francisco landlord/tenant law firm

We all know that the cost of housing in San Francisco has skyrocketed in recent years resulting in a shortage of affordable rental housing.  What you may not know is that these market forces have also resulted in a startling increase in the number of tenants facing eviction.  In far too many cases, landlords are using wrongful evictions to chase out existing tenants, particularly lower-income renters, and profit from rising prices.  Our San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyer helps tenants who have been illegally pushed out of their housing or otherwise harassed by a landlord in violation of city and/or state laws.

Article Examines the Rising Number of Eviction Notices in San Francisco

This week, the Peninsula Press, an award-winning project of the Stanford Journalism Program, published a fascinating (and upsetting) look at eviction notices in San Francisco.  According to their data, eviction notices have increased 60% since 2011, a major concern in a city where two-thirds of the population lives in rental housing.  In 2011, nearly six tenants a day received eviction notices for a total of 2,080 notices served last year.  Notably, the Mission, Sunset, South of Market, and Tenderloin neighbrentorhoods accounted for over a quarter of the eviction notices served in the past six years.  These numbers only count notices, not actual evictions, but it is also important to remember that one eviction may leave a whole family homeless.

There are few things we take for granted a much as clean air and a safe place to sleep.  Sadly, our Santa Rosa tenants’ lawyer knows that many Californians do not have this luxury.  As a pending lawsuit alleges, many of our neighbors are stuck in unsafe living conditions, problems exacerbated when landlords turn a blind eye to the suffering.

Paper Examines Santa Rosa Tenants’ Dispute Alleging Unhealthy Living Conditions

The Press Democrat’s Sunday Edition included an in-depth look at the health problems plaguing residents in a northeast Santa Rosa apartment complex and the related battle pending in state court.  According to the report, the apartment was infested with dangerous mold that, along with other triggers, caused serious asthma flares for one young resident.  Numerous other tenants reported moderate to severe health issues they believe are linked to the living conditions at the complex.

There are countless reasons to love San Francisco including our vibrant cultural scene, amazing restaurants, and countless year-round outdoor activities courtesy of the temperate climate.  In 2013, The Huffington Post looked at why San Francisco has some of the nation’s happiest and healthiest people in the nation, referencing a well-known Rudyard Kipling quote: “San Francisco has only one drawback – ’tis hard to leave.”  Sadly, our San Francisco landlord-tenant attorney knows at least one other drawback: the high cost of renting an apartment.  Few stories call attention to this problem as dramatically as the following look at a woman slapped with the highest rent increase we’ve ever encountered.  The story calls attention to a loophole in the San Francisco rent control system but also reminds renters that they can, and should, fight back.

The Rent Hike Heard Round the Town

Last week, San Francisco Magazine highlighted the most recent chapter in a rent dispute that captured the attention of the city earlier this year.  In March, a renter used social media to share a photo of a notice from her landlord hiking the rent on her Bernal Heights apartment from $2,145 to $8,900 and also increasing her security deposit from $1,500 to $12,500.   That’s more than four times the rent and more than eight times the original security deposit, increases that are even more astounding given that the unit had been, to the tenant’s knowledge, covered by rent control!  Unable to afford the rent, the tenant moved out in May.  She reports struggled to find an affordable home and had managed to get by thus far by doing various house/dog/cat-sitting gigs.  The article reports she will move into a sublet this month.

According to LA Weekly and State Assemblyman Nazarian (D, San Fernando Valley), eradicating bed bugs can cost anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars.  This is a heavy burden for anyone, but it can seem astronomical to lower-income renters.  Our San Francisco bed bug lawyer stands ready to help renters afflicted with bed bugs in section 8 housing when landlords fail to live up to their legal duties.  We are also prepared to file bed bug class actions on behalf of tenant groups in either Section 8 or traditional rental units.

Special Rules on Bed Bugs in Section 8 Housing

Cimex lectulariusIn April 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued Notice H2012-05.  Notice 2012-5 is intended to clarify the best practices for preventing and controlling infestations in HUD insured and assisted multifamily properties.  HUD suggests that owners and management agents (“O/As”) develop and implement an Integrated Pest Management Plan (“IPM”) that focuses on prevention as a primary tool in the bed bug battle.  Although it is presented as a suggestion rather than a requirement, the Notice recommends that O/As train staff on bed bug identification, take ongoing steps to prevent infestation, engage and educate resident on bed bug issues, and provide orientation materials to both staff and residents regarding bed bugs.  Tenants are urged to cooperate by maintaining living environments that help prevent infestations including avoiding unreasonable clutter that can provide hiding spaces for insects.

Late last week, a friend of our San Francisco landlord/tenant law firm e-mailed us an article he’d seen on Curbed LA, the Los Angeles portion of a real estate and neighborhood news website.  The article suggests that landlords in L.A. could fetch up to twice as much money on the short-term market (such as via Airbnb) than they can make via a traditional long-term rental.   He asked us: “Could the same thing happen in San Francisco?  Should renters be worried?”  We thought that the reality and the legality of short-term rentals in San Francisco might be on more than one renter’s mind (and therefore a great blog topic!), especially given the well-publicized increase in rental prices in the Bay Area in recent years.

Airbnb and the Short-Term Rental Concept

For those unfamiliar with the company, Airbnb is a locally based company that touts itself as a community marketplace connecting people looking for a place to stay with people who have space to spare.  The site covers more than 34,000 cities and allows people to rent a wide-range of spaces with many spaces offering nightly, weekly, and monthly rates.  While it is certainly the most popular, Airbnb is just one company serving the growing demand for short-term rentals.