Topic No. 209: Evictions Based on Breach of No Subletting Clause and/or Breach of Occupancy Limits

Recent amendments to the Rent Ordinance, effective November 9, 2015, may have changed some of the information provided here. The Rent Board is currently considering amendments to its Rules and Regulations that may also affect the accuracy of the information provided here. This information will be updated in the near future. You may contact the Rent Board at (415)252-4602 or visit the office at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 320 in San Francisco if you have questions about this topic.

The Rent Ordinance generally allows the landlord to evict a tenant for breach of a rental agreement or lease after the landlord gives the tenant an opportunity to cure the breach and the tenant fails to do so. However, a tenant cannot be lawfully evicted for breach of a "no subletting" clause in the lease if the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent to a replacement roommate, provided that the tenant made a written request to the landlord to sublet, the tenant continues to reside in the unit and the sublet constitutes a one-for-one replacement of the departing tenant. If the landlord fails to respond to the tenant in writing within 14 days of receipt of the tenant's request to replace a roommate, the tenant's request shall be deemed approved by the landlord and the landlord cannot evict the tenant for breach of the "no subletting" clause. The above requirements do not apply to assignment or subletting of the entire unit and do not create the right to increase the number of occupants, unless the additional occupant is a specified family member or domestic partner.

A tenant cannot be lawfully evicted for breach of a no subletting clause or a provision limiting the number of occupants in the unit as a result of the addition to the unit of a tenant's child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother or sister, or the spouse or domestic partner of such relatives or as a result of the addition of the spouse or domestic partner of a tenant, so long as the number of occupants does not exceed certain occupancy limits specified in the Rent Ordinance. The additional family member must meet the regular, reasonable application standards of the landlord, except that lack of creditworthiness shall not be a basis to refuse a tenant's written request unless the additional family member will be legally liable to pay rent to the landlord.


June 2006