Court: Rent control to continue for tenant who moved in as child

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When he was 13, Brian Govender and his family moved into a San Francisco apartment with rent control.

Naturally, the boy didn’t sign the lease. His parents, being grownups, took care of that.

Fast forward a decade. Govender, now in his mid-20s, still lives in the rent-controlled apartment. His parents do not.

Undoubtedly, debate will continue regarding whether renters who move into apartments as children should count as original tenants, depriving a landlord his ability to bring rents up to market rates.

This posed an interesting question regarding when rent control can expire. On one hand, Govender was a young teen when he moved in, so he didn’t sign the rental agreement. Some might say rent control protections for the unit lapsed when his parents moved out. Others would consider the man an original tenant — even though he didn’t sign the lease — since he’s lived there since the agreement took effect.

The issue came to a head after Govender’s parents moved, and the landlord wanted to raise the rent by about 100 percent.

The case ultimately went to the First District Court of Appeal. As explained in this San Francisco Chronicle piece, the panel ruled that Govender counts as an original tenant, and the unit is still subject to rent control. The article digs into the legal background, including a law from the 1990s that says rent control can lapse when tenancy changes.

Undoubtedly, debate will continue regarding whether renters who move into apartments as children should count as original tenants, depriving a landlord his ability to bring rents up to market rates.

Should this case go to the state Supreme Court? CAA members are invited to share their thoughts.

Tagged: San Francisco Apartment Association