San Francisco’s rent board approved an allowable 3.6% increase in March this year, the most significant hike since 1992.
San Franciso rents are something of both folklore and right of passage. It’s a topic of conversation any out-of-state friend or family member will inevitably press you when catching up. For those fortunate enough to call this maddening, enchanting city home, either bemoaning new apartment rents or celebrating the rent-controlled rates some have held onto for decades is commonplace.
But here's the bottom line. Rent caps work for renters. They bring down rents. And in combination with largescale investment in good quality public housing and infrastructure, you get places like Vienna, which the New York Times describes as a "renters utopia"
— Max Chandler-Mather (@MChandlerMather) June 28, 2023
But even those protected by San Francisco’s rent control ordinance — a City doctrine enacted in 1979 that still covers most of SF’s rental stock — aren’t immune to rent increases. Albeit far less significant than unprotected market-rate housing, rent-controlled units in San Francisco can occasionally see massive hikes in rent.
(The SF Rent Board does, however, cap yearly increases at 10%.)
Both 1983 and 1984 saw a staggering 7% allowable increase in rent; 1992 and 1993 saw a 4% increase.
The following years saw marginal annual increases, and no approved rent hike peaked above 2.9%. Except for this year when the rent board approved a 3.6% annual increase — the largest in three decades.
“Effective March 1, 2023, through February 29, 2024, the allowable annual increase amount is 3.6%,” reads an official statement on this year’s allowable rent increase for the SF’s Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board. This amount is based on 60% of the increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the Bay Area, which was 6% as posted in November 2022 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“To calculate the dollar amount of the 3.6% annual rent increase, multiply the tenant’s base rent by .036,” continues the statement. “For example, if the tenant’s base rent is $2,000.00, the annual increase would be calculated as follows: $2,000.00 x .036 = $72.00. The tenant’s new base rent would be $2,072.00 ($2,000.00 + $72.00).”
Putting this figure into further focus, rents in San Francisco have increased over 20% in most zip codes in San Francisco since 2020 for domiciles not protected by the City’s rent ordinance. For those that are, these units only saw an allowable increase of 4.8%.
The rental market is already heating up with San Francisoc’s next tech renaissance — the AI boom — already in motion. So… yea, get in now. And, preferably, inside a rent-controlled unit.
Feature image: Courtesy of Trulia