Leno Roommate Legislation Passed - Effective Sept. 29, 1999 - 9/1/99

Supervisor Leno"s roommate legislation will go into effect September 29, It will apply to all leases/rental agreements, including those entered into prior to the enactment of the legislation. It was amended to require that the Rent Board enact a regulation to provide that the application process for replacement roommates mirror that in Rules Section 6.15, which will occur in the near future.

Basically, it provides that even when there is an absolute prohibition against subletting and assignment in the lease or rental agreement, should a landlord unreasonably withholds consent to a replacement roommate, then that tenant can receive a rent reduction based on decreased housing services. Additionally, a tenant cannot be evicted for breach if the breach is of a no subletting clause, and the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent. Under the Ordinance amendment, a tenant must make a written request to the landlord to sublet, so long as the sublet constitutes a one-for-one replacement of the departing tenant(s). This amendment does not create the right to have more tenants than the lease provides for. If the landlord fails to respond to the tenant in writing within 14 days of receipt of the tenant"s request, the tenant"s request shall be deemed approved by the landlord. See 37.9(a)(2) for specific language.

The landlord cannot evict as a result of subletting if the tenant has met the above written request conditions and the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent to sublet. The legislation makes the right to have a specific number of tenants in a unit a housing service. As noted above, a tenant who was unreasonably denied the right to replace the departed tenant(s) could petition the Rent Board for a reduction in rent commensurate with the amount of rent the departed tenant was paying.

Click here to see the legislation text.