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Housing In San Francisco

Typical Rents and Listings

Market-rate apartments in SF start at over $900 for a studio (self-contained unit with kitchen and bath). Most of these apartments are several decades old and are not wheelchair accessible (newer units, which are accessible, are even more expensive).The market is competitive; most landlords want tenants with good landlord references, a stable, verifiable income and decent credit (as reflected in a credit report). Although it is illegal, many landlords refuse to rent to tenants who use Section 8 vouchers. Most wheelchair accessible units in SF rent for more than the SF Housing Authority’s Section 8 Payment Standard.

[ILRCSF doesn’t have listings of apartment vacancies – vacancy info can be obtained for free from realty companies or for a feefrom listing services].

Market-rate residential hotel rooms in SF start at $150 a week. For the first 30 days, the tenant has no anti-eviction protections (tenant can be asked to leave at the end of a week even if s/he has been a good tenant). After 30 days, the tenant has the same rights as an apartment tenant—limited rent control, protection against arbitrary eviction.

[ILRCSF has a list of some residential hotels (not a list of vacancies). Most market-rate residential hotel buildings are older and are not wheelchair accessible – especially in the bathrooms].

Rooms in someone’s home start at $500 a month. The tenant cannot be “thrown out” by the roommate, but can be evicted after being given a 30-day notice (unlike hotel or apt. tenants, no reason is needed for eviction).

[ILRCSF has a weekly list of persons renting rooms in their homes for less than $700/month, obtained from online sources. More listings can be obtained for free online or for a fee from listing services].

Subsidized housing units ( hotel rooms or apartments) are obtained in SF through waiting lists. A building’s waiting list, if open, may be a few months to many years long. Some units have rent indexed to income (rent is 30% of the tenant’s gross income). Examples of these units are SF Housing Authority public housing units, and units receiving Federal funding for specific populations (such as units for homeless persons, senior citizens, or persons with disabilities). Other units have a fixed rent that is lower than market-rate rent but is not indexed to the tenant’s income. Most of these units have a minimum income requirement (tenant’s income must be at least 2 to 3 times the rent).

[ILRCSF has an info list of some, but not all, open waiting lists for subsidized units. Usually we know of 15-20 open lists at any given time. There is no completely accurate central registry of this info].

The Section 8 voucher program , which subsidizes rent for tenants in market-rate apartments, is short of funding nationwide. SF’s Section 8 waiting list, which has been closed for more than five years, contains more than 20,000 names and won’t reopen soon.