Property Management Systems is a full service property management company in San Francisco, and I started this business 16 years ago by facilitating the Rent Board process on behalf of owners. Today we are talking about Decrease in Housing Service Petitions. This is something that occurs if one of your tenants takes you to the Rent Board for something they wanted fixed but hasn’t been fixed in a timely fashion. Through this process, the tenant may ask for a certain dollar amount to be deducted from their rent until the problem does get fixed.

This is an excellent example of why documentation is so important. As the landlord, you will need to go to the Rent Board on the specified day of the hearing and you will need to have as much documentation with you as possible regarding the specific issue at hand. This includes any letters or emails the tenant may have sent or notes on phone calls that were made between you and the tenant and your vendors. Often, tenants will ask for a rent reduction that covers an inaccurate time period and your documentation will help you prove when exactly a roof leak began or a specific problem was identified.

You need all of the information you can possibly gather on that particular case, especially proof that the problem was in fact fixed. If you are going to have to give money back, you want to make sure that you are only paying for the actual time period that something was broken and left unfixed.

If you’re not sure or you have doubts about how to proceed, you can always be represented by an attorney or by Property Management Systems. Often, tenants will take owners to the Rent Board for retaliatory reasons, and you need to be prepared.

If you have any questions about what to do, please visit our Property Management Systems website. We have a lot of experience with the Rent Board, and we’d be happy to help you.