Landlord Ethics: Okay to Raise Someone's Rent by Nearly 400% ???

3 Replies

The rental market in San Francisco is a little ridiculous right now. It seems like every week the media is reporting on evictions, tenant/landlord disputes, and competition for housing. 

Last week a woman posted on Facebook a letter her landlord sent her, stating her rent was being raised from $2,145 a month to $8,900 and that her security deposit would now be $12,500 A MONTH. All of this to force her to move rather than go through an eviction process. And as of right now, it seems like all of this is legal because of San Francisco's inconsistent rent control ordinance.

You can read the article here:

As a human being who can empathize with others, I balk at this way of doing business. As someone who might rent out her primary residence (SF condo) in the future, I can see why the landlord went this route. I worry I might have to do the same if I ever want to regain control of my condo after renting it out for a period of time.

What do you guys think about this? Would you or have you ever raised your rent an exorbitant amount to force a tenant to move? Is this move unfair landlording or just a sign of bad municipal housing policies?

That is the landlords property to do with as they deem fit though a fourfold increase sounds outrageous any way you look at it. Other items in the article were MORE disturbing...such as the $5200 PER PERSON relocation fee that the landlord could be stuck paying. As far as your original question: yes I would raise the rent very high to politely get a tenant to move and yes...bad municipal policies make things even worse and discourage investment and new business.

@Anne Chiramberro

If everyone is playing buy the rules then I don't see a problem with a significant increase.  

Forcing tenants to move out so I can move in or me moving out of a property to place tenants doesn't register with me.  My best performing and cash flowing rentals are properties that I would never live in.


Security deposits in CA can only be twice the rent for unfurnished and three times the rent for furnished units.  So, the security deposit is either a mistake on the document or unenforceable.

And the tenant blew it, in my opinion, by going on record that she's on good terms with the landlord.  Pretty hard to claim retaliatory eviction after that.

But, really, I don't blame the landlord at all.  These types of rent control ordinances force landlords to take extreme measures.  I'm really against government involvement in a private business, that involves price-setting and profit restrictions.  Would anyone think it was fair if there was a law that said all restaurants in SF must sell their food to SF residents for 20% of the rate for non-SF residents?  Or wages for all SF residents must be at least a minimum wage of $30/hour?  It's so unfair to target landowners who rent their property in SF.

In my opinion, the answer is government public housing for rent controlled units.  Forcing private owners to accept government price controls and to pay outrageous sums, required by government to move tenants, etc., is just wrong.  If the city imposes a moving fee, the city should pay it out of taxes everyone in SF pays.  Let the city subsidize the rent and pay to move them.

I feel for the tenant, but I don't think any person has the right to basically squat in an apartment at  an unreasonably low rent that is forced upon a private owner.  And feel entitled to that.  

Would the tenant want to be forced to accept wages from 10 years ago?  It should go both ways.  In my opinion.

Okay, deep breath.  Rant over :-)

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