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Brittany, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

I have been living in my house for a year and a half and I am not on the lease. The master tenant is

Asked by Brittany, San Francisco, CA Sun Apr 27, 2008

threatening to kick me out for personal reasons. Do I have any rights?

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Jim Rudoff’s answer
Jed and Rebecca, thank you for providing LOCAL information. Out of town agents, please stick to what you know! You are providing dangerous misinformation.

As a former long-term tenant in San Francisco and now a landlord, I can tell you that sub-tenants absolutely have rights, and it would be highly illegal for your master tenant to "pack up your belongings, put them outside, change the locks and you are hereby evicted!" However, it is possible for a master tenant to evict a subtenant in 14 "just cause" situations, so it pays to do some research.

The two organizations that Jed mentions are the same two that I refer people to, though I would add the caveat that the Tenants Union can be extreme in their approaches -- it seems to me that they care far more about pro-tenant law and precedent than they care about any actual person, so be careful to consider whether their recommendations actually fit who you want to be as a person. Here are the links:
Go to the "Documents and Resources" section, and get ready to do your homework.
And the Tenants Union:
Good luck!
Web Reference:
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
Yes, you have some rights. I was in a similar situation but the roles were reversed. I had to have a valid reason to kick out my roommate (which I did). However, I had signed a contract with him that either of us could terminate his renting from me without cause with 30 days notice. I went to an attorney and my contract with my ex-roommate was valid. Plus I had "just cause".

If you get mail there and it is your legal address, you can't get thrown out for no reason. Talk to a tenants' right s group because if you have been there longer than 30 days in San Francisco, you do have rights.

However, if there are problems with the master tenant, is this a place you really want to continue to live? I'd be paranoid about my stuff if someone didn't want me there. Cut your losses and get out before it gets ugly. In the meantime, learn your rights. This is San Francisco, you have some.

P.S. Another example of why you can't be kicked out. A friend of mine had a fight with her boyfriend--her house, he lived there. The police came but wouldn't do anything--as in make him leave--as it was his legal address.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 27, 2008
Nope! They can pack up your belongings, put them outside, change the locks and you are hereby evicted! Heck, they could probably get you for trespassing or unlawful break-in if they wanted to be complete jerks!! It is NOT your house. Next thing you'll say is you've been paying in "cash"!!?? I'd start looking for a new place and get it in YOUR name or at least go on the lease with someone else but be mindful you'll also be on the hook for the lease if the other person bails. NOLO press is a good resource for tenant law. They have a complete series of books in this regard which is self-help. However, all of the above being said you ARE in San Francisco where tenants have sometimes more power than landlords!! You would find a sympathetic ear from a tenant’s rights group. They are zealots but in your case this is what YOU want!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 27, 2008
While you do have rights as a tenant, only if your name is on the lease do you have any real legal recourse. Furthermore, the recourse that you have will be limited to damages to the person that threw you out of the apartment. Does he/she have any money? If not, move on and look at this practically. In other words, do you really want to live in a place where you are not getting along with the other person? The law is there to help you, but it cannot solve your problems!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Rebecca is correct. Contact the tenants union or the the rent control board and find out your rights. I would also agree that you probably want to start looking for another place before this one gets uglier. It never hurts to know what your right are even if you don't intend on standing on them and making a bigger issue. Lifes too short. If you are not on the lease you will not have recourse with the landlord nor will you likely be able to get the roommate to move out.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
Jed Lane; Fog…, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
Hi Brittany,

If your name was not on the lease and you did not sign the contract, then you do not have any rights or if you do, it is very limited. If I were you, I will start looking for a new place and if you will have some roommates, make sure your name is on the lease agreement.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 28, 2008
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