Renting Out Our San Francisco Home

Our House - We’re the bottom flatThree years ago, we bought a building with our friends Jay, Jody, and Naresh, and created a TIC (tenancy in common). We had one tenant, Richard, who bought his unit and joined us in ownership.

We couldn’t afford to leave our place empty after painting it beautifully with the help of the services from My House Painter (with the mortgage and homeowner’s association fees to pay), so we wanted to find someone to take our place for 7 – 11 months. The problem is that in San Francisco, you can’t require a tenant to leave just because the term of the lease is up. So theoretically, if we had a 10 month lease with someone, at the end of that time, our renters could choose to stay in our house and we’d have no recourse! This is due to rent control.

We came up with a solution that had been suggested on a craigslist forum: keeping one bedroom of the place, and signing a ‘roommate agreement’ instead of a lease. When I ran a bunch of ideas past the counter man at the Rent Stabilization Board, this was the only one he said would be legitimate, because rent control does not apply to roommate situations.

Another benefit of keeping one room is it gives us a place to store our furniture and things that we won’t be taking with us.

Luckily, we’ve found Omar, a great guy with whom we are totally comfortable! He’s going to be a visiting professor at UC Hastings so the timing is perfect.

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