Topic No. 013: The Rent Board Fee
Chapter 37A of the San Francisco Administrative Code allows the City to collect a per-unit fee for each residential dwelling unit that is subject to the Rent Ordinance. This fee funds the cost of operating the Rent Board.
The Rent Board fee is billed to the landlord each year on the property tax statement, and the law permits the landlord to collect a portion of the Rent Board fee from those tenants in occupancy as of November 1st of each year. 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. For the 2019-2020 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.
Certain dwelling units are exempt from the Rent Board fee, including owner-occupied units where no tenants also reside with the owner in the unit. Units where the rent is controlled or regulated by a government agency, including Section 8 certificate and Housing Choice Voucher programs administered by the San Francisco Housing Authority, are also exempt from payment of the fee. Units rented under the HOPWA program (Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids) administered by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development are exempt from payment of the fee as well. Refer to Section 37A.1 of the Administrative Code for a complete list of exemptions. Chapter 37A is available for review at the Rent Board’s office during regular business hours, Monday through Friday and is also available in the Ordinance & Regulations section on our website.
Landlords may “bank” the Rent Board fee since November 1999 and collect it in a later year. This means that a landlord does not have to collect the fee in the year that it was due, but is entitled to collect the Rent Board fee in later years if they so desire. Banking only applies to fees assessed from November 1999 on. A list of prior Rent Board fees since 1999 is available in the Forms Center on our website.
Section 37A.6 of the Administrative Code allows the landlord to recover 50% of the Rent Board fee from the tenant by deducting it from the security deposit interest payment due to the tenant each year. If there is no security deposit held by the landlord, then the landlord may bill the tenant directly. Landlords who pay the security deposit interest annually may bill for the Rent Board fee separately rather than deducting it from the interest payment owed.
The billing statement must specifically state the fee amount owed by the tenant for each year and the amount, if any, of security deposit interest due the tenant for each year owing. The bill should also state that the purpose of the fee is to fund the Rent Board, and that the fee is due and payable within 30 days of the date of the bill.
Please note that a tenant’s failure to pay the Rent Board fee is not a just cause for eviction. The landlord will have to go to Small Claims Court in order to collect the fee.