Hearings, Mediations, Appeals, and ADR

Understand the process for Hearings, Mediations, Appeals, and ADR.

The Hearing Process

Once a petition is determined to be complete, it will be scheduled for an arbitration hearing or a mediation session. The Rent Board sends a copy of the petition to the other parties named in the petition. For petitions that are assigned to arbitration, the Rent Board sends a Notice of Hearing to all parties and representatives at least 10 days before the hearing. Requests for postponements must be submitted in writing. The hearing process is designed so that no one needs an attorney, although parties are entitled to have an attorney or other authorized representative assist them at the hearing. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will issue a written decision that will be mailed to all the parties and their representatives. Read more about the hearing process here.

The Mediation Process

The Rent Board offers mediation as an alternative to arbitration in certain types of cases. Parties often prefer mediation to arbitration because it is more flexible. In a mediation, the parties can negotiate for results that might not be permissible in an arbitration. Read more about the mediation process here.

The Appeal Process

If a party believes the Administrative Law Judge's decision is in error, that an abuse of discretion occurred or that a financial hardship will arise if the decision stands, the party can appeal the decision to the Rent Board Commission. Read more about appeal process here.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The San Francisco Rent Board can help resolve disputes involving landlords, tenants, roommates, property managers or neighbors through ADR mediation, without filing a formal petition at the Rent Board. The scope of the ADR Program is not limited to issues involving rent increases or decreased housing services under the Rent Ordinance. Other housing-related conflicts can be addressed. However, ADR can only be scheduled if all parties agree to participate. Read more about the Rent Board's ADR program and how it compares to the Hearing and Mediation process here. 

Last updated September 8, 2023