Topic No. 153: Rent Increases Under Section 6.14 And Costa-Hawkins
The landlord may be entitled to increase the rent to market rate in certain roommate situations when the original tenants no longer live in the unit. Rules and Regulations Section 6.14 and/or Civil Code Section 1954.53(d) of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act may apply in this situation. The following is a general overview of these two provisions. Since these provisions can be complicated, landlords and tenants should obtain legal advice concerning their application to specific fact situations.
Rules and Regulations Section 6.14 provides for an unlimited rent increase on remaining occupants when the last original occupant vacates the unit, as long as the landlord timely served all remaining occupants with a written "6.14 notice." A proper 6.14 notice must inform each subsequent occupant that the landlord can impose a rent increase without limitation when the last original tenant vacates the unit. The 6.14 notice must be served on each subsequent occupant within a reasonable time after the landlord knows or should have known of the occupancy. Generally, sixty days is considered reasonable. A 6.14 notice can be served on any subsequent occupant, whether the subsequent occupant is a subtenant or a co-tenant.
Costa-Hawkins provides that when the last original occupant no longer permanently resides in the unit, the landlord may impose an unlimited rent increase on a lawful subtenant or assignee who did not reside in the unit prior to January 1, 1996. A subtenant who resided in the unit before January 1, 1996 is therefore not subject to such a rent increase. In addition, a co-tenant, as opposed to a subtenant, is not subject to such a rent increase, regardless of when the co-tenant moved in. A co-tenant is someone who has an oral or written agreement with the landlord, or who has become a tenant by the conduct of the parties such as the landlord's acceptance of rent.
A landlord is not required to file a petition with the Rent Board for approval of a rent increase pursuant to Section 6.14 or Costa-Hawkins, but may do so. A tenant or subtenant may file a petition alleging an unlawful rent increase if he or she believes that a rent increase pursuant to Section 6.14 and/or Costa-Hawkins is not warranted. To receive a copy of the landlord or tenant petition form, you can fax it to yourself through our Fax Back system by calling (415) 252-4660 or visit our website at www.sfrb.org. The forms are also available in our office.