On Dec. 13, 2011, the San Francisco Rent Board Commission amended Rules and Regulations §12.20, prohibiting a tenant’s eviction for violation of a covenant or obligation not originally included in the tenant’s rental agreement. Two exceptions were provided: one for a change in terms authorized by the Rent Ordinance, and another for a violation of a newly added term, to which the tenant agreed in writing, in response to a specifically given notice containing the clause that “the tenant need not accept such new term as part of the rental agreement.”

This amendment of §12.20 came promptly in response to the recent case, Marino v. Hernandez, CUD-10-632110 (Cal. App. Dept. Super. Ct., 2011), where the court upheld the landlord’s imposed prohibition against a tenant’s subleasing the unit to someone else. The then-existing version of §12.20 was found to be in harmony with the Cal. Civ. Code §827 only if the tenant’s continuance in possession can be viewed as the tenant’s agreement with the newly imposed changes in the lease. Other readings of the §12.20 requirement of the tenant’s agreement were found by the court as conflicting with state law.

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