What to do
This petition is only available for tenants in a rent controlled unit. It is not available for most tenants in units built after June 13, 1979 or affordable housing units (such as Section 8). Learn about San Francisco rental laws.
A tenant may petition the Rent Board for a reduction in rent if the landlord has substantially decreased a housing service without reducing the tenant's rent.
1. Learn about Housing Services
A housing service is a service provided by the landlord related to the use or occupancy of a rental unit. This includes:
- Repairs and maintenance
Find out more about "Housing Services".
2. Fill out the Tenant Petition and Form A
- Pages 1-2: We will need:
- Information about your rental unit
- Contact information for yourself and the following (if applicable):
- Your lawyer or representative
- The building owner
- The property manager or management company
- Your landlord's lawyer or representative
- Page 3: Check Box "A"
- Page 3: Sign and date the declaration
- Page 4: Read the instructions for Form A
- Page 5: On Form A, list the housing services that your landlord has removed or substantially reduced.
Describe your decreased housing services
For each housing service, describe:
- When was the housing service decreased or not provided
- When was the landlord notified of the decreased housing service
- Whether your landlord has restored the housing service
- How much you believe your rent should be reduced, per month, for the loss of housing service
3. Submit your form
4. What happens next
Once a petition is determined to be complete, the Rent Board sends a copy of the petition to the landlord and any other parties named in the petition
Usually within a few months after the petition is filed, it will be scheduled for a mediation session on Monday-Friday at 9:00 AM or 1:30 PM (a Notice of Mediation is sent out to all parties at least 10 days before the mediation)
Occasionally, the parties are unable to reach agreement after participating in a mediation session. In that case, an arbitration hearing may be held that same day or rescheduled for a future date (usually within several months)
- If your case requires a formal arbitration hearing, you must present evidence proving that your landlord has reduced or removed a housing service that was included in your rent.
Rent reductions are limited to the one-year period before the petition is filed, unless the tenant proves that the landlord had long-term notice regarding the problem, or it is shown that extraordinary circumstances exist.
The Rent Board has no authority to compel the landlord to restore the service, but can only order a rent reduction for the loss of the housing service.
Tags: Topic 352
Requests for postponements must be submitted in writing and will be granted only when there is good cause, such as travel plans made prior to receipt of the Notice of Mediation. Evidence of conflicting plans must be submitted with the request for postponement.
Any party may appeal a Rent Board decision within 15 calendar days of the mailing of the decision.
Last updated January 17, 2024