Recent Amendments to the Rules & Regulations-6.13 & 6.15 - 3/28/98

The commission amended two sections in the Rules and Regulations at its meeting on March 24, 1998. Section 6.13 was amended to clarify existing policy and was not considered a substantive amendment.

Rule 6.15 is entirely new and pertains to issues of subletting and assignments. It sets forth the rights and obligations of both tenants and landlords and also requires that Master Tenants disclose certain information to prospective tenants. Note that paragraphs (a) and (f) do not take effect until May 25, 1998 so that landlords and Master Tenants can amend rental agreement forms in order to conform with the regulation requirements. All other sections became effective on March 24, 1998.

The text of the amended and new sections follows:

Section 6.13 Prohibition Against Agreements to Pay Additional Rent for Additional Occupants

(Adopted April 8, 1986; Amended for Clarification March 24, 1998)

No extra rent may be charged solely for an additional occupant to an existing tenancy (including a newborn child), regardless of the presence of a rental agreement or lease which specifically allows for a rent increase for additional tenants. Such provisions in written or oral rental agreements or leases are deemed to be contrary to public policy.

Section 6.15 Subletting and Assignment

(Effective March 24, 1998, except paragraphs (a) and (f) which are effective May 25, 1998)

a.    or agreements entered into on or after May 25, 1998, for purposes of this subsection (a), where a lease or rental agreement contains an enforceable absolute prohibition against sublet or assignment, breach of such covenant may constitute a ground for termination of tenancy pursuant to Section 37.9(a)(2) only if such prohibition was adequately disclosed to and agreed to by the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy. For purposes of this subsection, adequate disclosure shall include satisfaction of one of the following requirements:

  1. the prohibition against sublet or assignment is set forth in enlarged or boldface type in the lease or rental agreement and is separately initialed by the tenant; or
  2. the landlord has provided the tenant with a written explanation of the meaning of the absolute prohibition, either as part of the written lease or rental agreement, or in a separate writing.

b.    If the lease or rental agreement specifies a number of tenants to reside in a unit, or where the open and established behavior of the landlord and tenants has established that the tenancy includes more than one tenant, and, where a lease or rental agreement, whether oral or written, permits sublet or assignment or requires a landlord"s consent to sublet or assignment, or where an absolute prohibition against sublet or assignment has been waived, then the replacement of one or more of the tenants by an equal number of tenants, subject to subsection (c) below, shall not constitute a breach of the lease or rental agreement for purposes of termination of tenancy under Section 37.9(a)(2) of the Ordinance.

c.
        1.    If a lease or rental agreement requires a landlord"s consent to sublet or assignment, the tenant"s inability to obtain such consent shall not constitute a breach of the lease or rental agreement for purposes of eviction under Section 37.9(a)(2), where the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent to such change. Withholding of consent by the landlord shall be deemed to be unreasonable if the tenant has met the following requirements:

  1. The tenant has requested in writing the permission of the landlord to the sublease or assignment prior to the commencement of the proposed new tenant"s or new subtenant"s occupancy of the unit;
  2. The proposed new tenant or new subtenant, if requested by the landlord, has completed the landlord"s standard form application, or, in the event the landlord fails to provide an application or has no standard form application, the proposed new tenant or new subtenant has, upon request, provided sufficient information to allow the landlord to conduct a typical background check, including credit information, income information, references, and background information;
  3. The tenant has provided the landlord five (5) business days to process the proposed new tenant"s or new subtenant"s application;
  4. The proposed new tenant or new subtenant meets the regular reasonable application standards of the landlord;
  5. The proposed new tenant or new subtenant has agreed to sign and be bound by the current rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant;
  6. The tenant has not, without good cause, requested landlord consent to a new tenant or new subtenant more than one time per existing tenant residing in the unit during the previous 12 months;
  7. The tenant is requesting replacement of a departing tenant or tenants with an equal number of new tenants.

2.    This subsection (C)(1) shall not apply to assignment of the entire tenancy or subletting of the entire unit.

d.    Where a lease or rental agreement, whether oral or written, permits subletting or assignment with landlord consent, or where an absolute prohibition against sublet or assignment is waived, and the lease or rental agreement specifies the number of tenants to reside in a unit, or where the open and established behavior of the landlord and tenants has established that the tenancy includes more than one tenant, failure of the landlord to consent to the replacement of one or more of the tenants by an equal number of tenants, subject to subsection (c)(1) above, may constitute a decrease in housing services pursuant to Section 10.10 of these Regulations.

e.    Nothing in this Section shall prevent the landlord from providing a replacement new tenant or new subtenant with written notice as provided under Section 6.14 that the tenant is not an original tenant as defined in Section 6.14(a) and that when the last of the tenant(s) who meet the latter definition vacates the premises, a new tenancy is created for purposes of determining the rent under the Rent Ordinance.

f.

  1. For any tenancy commencing on or after May 25, 1998, a landlord who is not an owner of record of the property and who resides in the same rental unit with his or her tenant (a "Master Tenant") may evict said tenant without just cause as required under Section 37.9(a) only if, prior to commencement of the tenancy, the Master Tenant informs the tenant in writing that the tenancy is not subject to the just cause provisions of Section 37.9. A landlord who is an owner of record of the property and who resides in the same rental unit with his or her tenant is not subject to this additional disclosure requirement.
  2. In addition, for any tenancy commencing on or after May 25, 1998, a Master Tenant shall disclose in writing to a tenant prior to commencement of the tenancy the amount of rent the Master Tenant is obligated to pay to the owner of the property.

07/23/98