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Moez, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

I have a roommate as a sublet whose name is not on the lease and the landlord doesn't know him. He has been

Asked by Moez, San Francisco, CA Sun Feb 24, 2008

living in my apartement for 3 months as month-to-month sublet. 2weeks ago he started teasing our third roomate as sexual disturbing. The police came home and gave me a case number for a report which convect him in some how.
I would like to kick him out at the end of this month, february, and i noticed him at the begining of the month. I'm worried if he could refuse to move out and wait until the court take place to kick him out which takes more than 30 days. If I change the lock at march 1st, would I be in trouble?

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While the first two answers are both fine, you have wealth of resources available *without* spending a fortune on an attorney. If your rental unit is covered by San Francisco's Rent Ordinance, then the first place to go is the City's Rent Board Web site (and you should be aware that many units are covered by the Rent Ordinance's eviction protections, even if they're not protected by rent control):
http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/rentboard/
Go to the "Documents and Resources" section, and get ready to do your homework. It's great stuff for you to know -- San Francisco is very pro-tenant, but it still pays to know your rights and responsibilities.

I presume that you are on the lease, or at least that the landlord knows you live there. If you're on the lease, you are a master tenant, and generally speaking, that does give you the right to evict your subtenant -- for one of the 14 acceptable "just cause" reasons for eviction. If you've lived there for more than 10 years, you do not need just cause to evict a subtenant. If you are not a master tenant then you do not have the right to evict another subtenant. Also, you must follow eviction law just as if you were the landlord. (Basically, the Rent Ordinance does consider master tenants - or original tenants - to be landlords with respect to subtenants.)

If your subtenant is sexually harrassing your other housemate, you might be able to build a just cause eviction case because he is “creating a substantial interference with the comfort, safety or enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants in the building.”

Additionally, if you have a good relationship with the landlord, it may pay to 'fess up to your illegal subtenant. Depending on the terms of your lease, chances are good that the landlord can evict anyone who moved in without permission, as long as it's done within a reasonable time period from when the landlord learns of the new subtenant.

This can be risky for you since you're supposed to notify the landlord in writing before allowing a subtenant to move in, and if the addition of the subtenant means that you've exceeded the allowable number of occupants, the landlord could initiate eviction proceedings against you. The landlord must give you the opportunity to correct the problem first.

All of this information is available in just a few minutes on the web.

Another great resource is the San Francisco Tenants Union:
http://www.sftu.org/
Obviously, they're rabidly pro-tenant -- sometimes to a degree that I think gets in the way of human relations (c'mon, can't we all just get along?) But they've dealt with just about every rental situation you can imagine.

If things do get bitter, feel free to contact me for a referral to a lawyer. Hopefully that will be a last resort, and it won't come to that.

And yes, you will be in trouble if you change the lock.

Whatever you do, you DO NOT "pack up his stuff, put it outside the door, change the locks..." That will get you in lots of trouble in San Francisco. (No offense Mike, but Santa Rosa might as well be another planet when it comes to rent law.)

Of course, none of this should be construed as actual legal advice. Just trying to help.

Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.jimrudoff.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2008
San Francisco is a rent controlled city, so you need to speak to a tenant advocate attorney. Call the SF Rent Arbitration Board and ask them for some names of Tenant Advocate Attorneys. You want to exercise your right to get him to leave without jeopardizing your tenancy with your landlord. Next time you think about getting a sublet, roommate or any change in your original agreement with your landlord, tell your landlord first. Having your landlord on your side is helpful. All the Best. Liz
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2008
You need an attorney to answer your question. You can try searching for an attorney via a legal aid referral service. You need an attorney well versed in landlord/tenant law.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
All good responses. I concur.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 25, 2008
Call Len Tillem, he's a "Lawyer", today on KGO, 810am radio in San Francisco. He's on at 4:00pm. He'll tell you what he's repeated many, many times. The person is NOT on the lease, pack up his stuff, put it outside the door, change the locks and let him find a new place. End of story. You may also wish to check Nolo Press and their Landlord/tenant books and as the other's have suggested, call an attorney. But if the guy get's a tenant advocacy attorney god knows what will happen!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2008
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