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How To Add My Roommate To A Lease in San Francisco, CA?

Real Solutions for Real Estate Problems

Can leasing agreements be modified? If so, how do I add my roommate to a lease in San Francisco, CA? Our trusted San Francisco real estate lawyers got answers to these questions and will surely help with your real estate concerns. 

Our legal team at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. will provide real solutions for your real estate problems. Backed by years of experience, our San Francisco real estate law attorneys have been trusted by residents in California when it comes to their landlord-tenant disputes, eviction, and other real estate concerns. 

If you are thinking of adding a roommate to your lease and don’t know how to, don’t hesitate to call our San Francisco real estate law attorneys. Contact us now!

Why do I need a Real Estate Attorney in California?

In reality, the majority of landlord-tenant disputes and other real estate legal matters do not necessitate complete litigation. Most disagreements, in fact, can be settled through aggressive but strategic mediation and negotiation

In this situation, having a trusted real estate attorney in San Francisco is a must to get the best result on your real estate issues. Hiring our law office at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. is beneficial due to the following reasons:

  • We make things simpler – Real estate law can be a complex topic, but our real estate lawyers would make it easier for you by explaining hard-to-understand legal issues in a language you can understand.
  • We have a team of experienced lawyers – Although landlord-tenant and real estate disputes are less complicated, having an experienced legal team on your side will ensure you will achieve better legal options and results.
  •  We provide client-focused service – We provide a good client-attorney relationship by keeping you posted on the status of your case.

Our San Francisco real estate attorneys will do everything possible to resolve your landlord-tenant case or real estate dispute as quickly as possible. If you want to know how to add a roommate to a lease or have other real estate litigation, and other legal concerns in San Francisco and the Bay Area, our experienced real estate and landlord-tenant lawyers are here to help. Contact our law office today!

Can I Add a New Roommate to my Lease?

In a city where the average apartment costs around $3400, many San Francisco residents have roommates to help pay the rent. But what happens if your roommate moves out? Can you just replace a roommate without the risk of eviction? How do you add a roommate to a lease in San Francisco, CA?

Even if a written lease prohibits it, San Francisco’s Rent Ordinance generally allows tenants to replace departing roommates or increase the number of occupants living in the unit. However, nothing in the Rent Ordinance prohibits a tenant from subletting or assigning the entire unit to a new tenant in violation of a lease or from subletting the unit for tourist or transient use as defined in the Short Term Rental Ordinance for less than 30 days (See Admin. Code Section 41A.5).

If there is no written tenancy lease agreement or if the agreement is silent on the issue of subletting and does not include a limit on the number of occupants, a tenant is not required to obtain the landlord’s approval before moving a new occupant moves in, and the following procedures do not apply. In case a tenant has written lease agreements, the procedures outlined herein must be followed to obtain landlord approval before relocating a new occupant.

How to Get Approval from the Landlord?

You obviously want to make certain that your new roommate is financially secure and suitable for you.

Even if you believe your prospective co-tenant has exceptional qualifications, this does not guarantee that the landlord will agree. Before approaching the landlord, consider the following questions to increase your chances of getting official approval:

  • Will adding a roommate push you over the occupancy limit? Landlords are entitled to set reasonable limits on the number of occupants per rental unit. They can set a limit to the number of people who can live in your rental—as long as you comply with all relevant housing laws.
  • Will your new roommate meet the good-tenant requirements of your landlord? Many landlords conduct a thorough screening process on prospective tenants, which includes checking credit scores, reviewing employment and rental history, and speaking with personal references. 

If they get a good credit report, you’ll want to forward it to the landlord with their application. Doing it gives you the opportunity to develop a reasonable explanation for any negative information, such as bankruptcy or even previous eviction.

If you need further legal advice on adding a roommate to a lease, it is best to speak with our real estate law attorneys now. 

What Steps must a Tenant Follow to Obtain the Landlord’s Consent? 

Tenants and landlords must follow a timeline in order to get the consent of a landlord for a new applicant. Here are the steps that must be followed by tenants and landlords. 

  1. First, the tenant must write to the landlord requesting permission to move the new occupant into the unit. The written request can be delivered in person, by email, or by regular mail to the landlord.
  2. The landlord has 14 days from the date of receipt of the tenant’s written request to approve or deny the proposed new occupant’s request. The landlord’s denial of a tenant’s request must be in writing and include a description of the reasons for the denial, as well as specific facts supporting the denial.
  3. If the landlord does not respond to the tenant’s request within 14 days or denies the tenant’s request in an unreasonable manner, the request is considered approved by law, and the tenant cannot be evicted for bringing the new occupant into the unit without the landlord’s prior consent.

If you have questions about landlord-tenant law or concerns regarding the steps written above, please contact our San Francisco law firm now.

What if the Landlord Denies the Tenant’s Request for a New Occupant in an Unreasonable Manner?

If the landlord denies the tenant’s request for a new occupant without a reasonable basis, the tenant may petition the Rent Board for a rent reduction. Furthermore, if the new occupant moves in and the landlord has unreasonably withheld consent from the new occupant, the tenant may not be evicted for breach of the written lease agreement.

If you are dealing with unreasonable eviction, contact our San Francisco Real Estate & Landlord-Tenant Lawyer as soon as possible.

Can the Landlord Increase the Rent because of the Additional Roommate?

Rent increases are not allowed solely for adding an occupant, but the landlord may petition to raise the rent for increased operating expenses. However, replacing the original occupant(s) can allow the rent to be increased to the market rate.

A landlord who agrees to accept a co-tenant may raise the rent on the grounds that more occupants mean more wear and tear on the property. Landlords cannot normally raise rent mid-tenancy—for leases, they must wait until the lease expires, and for month-to-month rental agreements, they must provide whatever notice state law requires. 

However, by signing a new lease or rental agreement, you are effectively beginning a new tenancy, allowing the landlord to increase rent immediately. Unless your rental unit is subject to rent control, or if the landlord is using a large rent increase to discriminate against you illegally, your landlord can request as much extra money as the market will bear.

How Do I Protect My Interests?

It’s possible that you and your roommate will disagree about the rental situation at some point. To avoid future disagreements, you should sit down and discuss your living arrangements and preferences, including who gets to use what spaces and who pays the utility bills. It’s a good idea to formalize your plans in a written roommate agreement after you’ve worked out the details.

Contact our Trusted San Francisco Real Estate Attorney Today!

The first step in adding a roommate to a lease is to check with your landlord before allowing a new person to move in, whether it’s time to live with the one you love or simply to replace a departing roommate. Most landlords will require your new roommate to become a co-tenant with the same rights and responsibilities as you.

If you want to know how to add a roommate to a lease in San Francisco, CA, our legal team at Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. are here to assist you throughout the process.

Whether you’re dealing with a landlord-tenant dispute or addressing a real estate concern in California, our San Francisco real estate attorneys are here to protect your rights. Contact us now; we provide real solutions to your real estate problems.

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