Rent Board Fee Frequently Asked Questions


Why did I get a postcard about the Rent Board Fee, and where do I get more information?

The City and County of San Francisco imposes a per-unit fee on owners of residential property to fund the services and administrative cost of running the Rent Board.  In prior tax years the Fee was collected as a charge on the owner's property tax bill.  Beginning in tax year 2021-2022, the Rent Board is now required to collect the Fee directly from the property owner, and the Fee will no longer appear on the property tax statement.  The postcard was sent to owners to inform them of this change.  Owners will receive a notice in the mail with additional information around November 15, 2021. Owners will receive the Rent Board Fee Annual Notice (bill) in January 2022. 

Why am I getting this Rent Board Fee Informational Notice?

You own residential property in San Francisco. Due to that, your property is assessed the Rent Board Fee. The Rent Board Fee Informational Notice explains that your unit is subject to the Rent Board Fee and how you can apply for an exemption if you think your unit should not be subject to the Fee.

What is the Portal?

The Rent Board has created an online Portal where owners can access their property information, request an exemption, and make a payment. You must use an email address to register an account. The Portal is best accessed using the most updated versions of Chrome and Firefox browsers. A guide to the Portal can be found here.

What is the PIN on the Informational Notice?

There is a PIN associated with each property address. This PIN will be on the Informational Notice and will be used to access the Portal.

I lost my Informational Notice and I want to request an exemption. How do I get a new PIN?

Please call (415) 252-4628 to be issued a new PIN. You will be asked to leave a clear voicemail with your name, phone number, property address and APN (Assessor's Parcel Number). Rent Board staff will call you back within 2 business days to provide you with a new PIN nuber. 

This Informational Notice was mailed to me, but I don’t own the property anymore.

Please email with the subject heading: "Rent Board Fee: Change of Ownership," and include the property address and the APN (Assessor's Parcel Number) with all information you have that documents the change of ownership. Attach a copy of the Informational Notice to the email.

This Informational Notice was mailed to me and I’m an owner, but I don’t deal with the property’s business and I shouldn’t be receiving notices.

Please log into the Portal using the PIN provided on your Informational Notice and update the primary mailing address for the property.

I think I got this Informational Notice in error.  How do I make sure I don’t get a Rent Board Fee bill sent to me?

Certain dwelling units are exempt from payment of the Rent Board Fee, including owner-occupied units where no tenants also reside with the owner in the unit. If you think the Fee is being improperly charged, you have to complete an exemption request in the Portal between November 15 and December 15, 2021. You will receive an email to let you know if the exemption request was incomplete, granted, or denied.  You will also be able to look up the status of your exemption request in the Portal. If the exemption request is granted, you will not have to pay the Fee assessed for that unit for 2021-2022. If the request is not granted, you will receive the Rent Board Fee Annual Notice (bill) in January 2022 and have to pay the fee by March 1.

I filed an exemption request last year and it was approved. Why am I being asked to do it again?

Approval of an exemption request for one year does not guarantee that the landlord will not be asked for this information again in subsequent years.  Even if you completed the exemption request for the 2020-2021 tax year, please do so again for 2021-2022 between November 15 and December 15.

I am having trouble accessing the exemption request online system, can you send me the form?

Owners are strongly encouraged to submit their exemption requests online. If you have absolutely no internet access or email address, staff can mail you a paper exemption form or you can come to the office to pick one up and complete. You must return the form by mail or in person only. You may not email the paper exemption request form. If you have a question about accessing the Portal, please call the Rent Board at (415) 252-4600.

What if it’s after December 15 and I have not filed my exemption request?

You will have to pay the full Fee listed on your Rent Board Fee Annual Notice that will be mailed to you in January, and will be subject to penalties if you do not pay by March 1.

What happens if I don’t pay the Rent Board Fee?

The Rent Board Fee must be paid no later than March 1 of each year. A 5% penalty will be added to the amount of the Fee if it has not been paid by March 1, an additional 5% if the Fee has not been paid by April 1, and an additional 5% if the Fee has not been paid by May 1 (for a total penalty of 15%). If the Fee remains outstanding as of June 1, the Rent Board will refer the matter to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenue (collection agency for the City and County of San Francisco).

Can I pass on the cost of the Fee to my tenants?

For the 2021-2022 tax year, the rental unit Fee is $59.00 per apartment unit and $29.50 per residential hotel room. A landlord may collect 50% of the Fee from tenants, which is $29.50 per apartment unit and $14.75 per residential hotel room. For the 2020-2021 tax year, the rental unit Fee is $50.00 per apartment unit and $25.00 per residential hotel room. The landlord may collect 50% of the Fee from tenants, which is $25.00 per apartment unit and $12.50 per residential hotel room. Find more information here.

I keep getting billed for this Fee every year, how do I make it stop?

You must request an exemption. Depending on the reason for your exemption request, you might be exempted from paying the Fee for all of your units, or for just one unit. If the exemption is granted for less than the total number of units in your property, you will still be required to pay the Fee.  If you do not pay the Fee on time, you can be penalized up to 15%, and then if you still do not pay, the nonpayment will be referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenue.

I was incorrectly billed for this Fee in past years, how do I get a refund?

You cannot get a refund for fees billed and paid in past years. You can only seek an exemption for the current year’s Fee.

Some of my units are vacant, why am I still being charged this Fee?

The Rent Board is still required to charge the Fee, even if the unit is vacant.


November 2021