Topic No. 018: Partial Exemption for Certain Subsidized Rental Units
In general, dwelling units whose rents are controlled or regulated by another government agency or authority are entirely exempt from the Rent Ordinance. This includes project-based rental assistance programs, such as subsidized housing projects or senior housing, where the subsidy can be used only in designated buildings and not in private apartments.
However, where the tenant rents a dwelling unit and receives tenant-based rental assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, or where the tenant is receiving HOPWA rental assistance (under the Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids Program), such units are subject to the "just cause" eviction provisions of the Ordinance. In addition, the annual rent increase limitations of the Rent Ordinance will apply if the tenant’s base rent exceeds the applicable "payment standard" set by the San Francisco Housing Authority, unless the rental unit is exempt from the rent increase limitations of the Ordinance on some other basis (e.g. a single family dwelling under Civil Code Section 1954.52 or a unit constructed after June 13, 1979). Other types of rent increases available under the Rent Ordinance (such as capital improvement passthroughs, water revenue bond passthroughs, general obligation bond passthroughs, utility passthroughs and operating and maintenance expense increases) are not permitted for Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher or HOPWA tenancies
Where the tenant receives Section 8 Certificate rental assistance, the unit is subject to the "just cause" eviction provisions, but is exempt from the rent increase provisions of the Ordinance since the base rent is set by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).
All rental units whose rents are controlled or regulated by another government unit, agency or authority are exempt from payment of the annual Rent Board fee and are also exempt from payment of interest on security deposits.
Previously exempt units in buildings where HUD no longer insures the mortgage, and units that no longer receive project-based rental assistance are subject to the rent increase limitations and "just cause" eviction provisions of the Rent Ordinance, as well as the Rent Board fee and the security deposit interest payment requirements.
If there is a question about whether a unit is covered by or exempt from the Rent Ordinance, a landlord or a tenant may file a petition at the Rent Board for a determination of jurisdiction. You may obtain a copy of the various petition forms by visiting our office during regular business hours. These forms are also available in the Forms Center on our website.