The San Francisco Rent Ordinance requires landlords to pay San Francisco tenants interest on their security depositsSan Francisco Administrative Code § 49.2.  This law applies to all residential tenancies in San Francisco, even tenants not covered by other provisions of the San Francisco Rent Ordinance.  However, this law does not cover tenants in units assisted or subsidized by the government.

How Much Interest Must Landlords Pay San Francisco Tenants in 2024?

The San Francisco Rent Board determines the security deposit interest rate annually.  It takes effect each year on March 1st.  For March 1, 2024 through February 28, 2025, the security deposit interest rate is 5.2%.

Previously, the security deposit interest rate for San Francisco tenants for March 1, 2023 through February 29, 2024 was 2.3%.

Prior security deposit interest rates are available by clicking here.

How Often Do Landlords Have to Pay San Francisco Tenants Security Deposit Interest?

San Francisco landlords must pay security deposit interest every year on the tenant’s annual due date.  For San Francisco tenants that moved into their unit on or after September 1, 1983, the annual due date is the day the landlord received the security deposit from the San Francisco tenant.  For San Francisco tenants that moved into their unit before September 1, 1983, the annual due date is set by law on September 1st.  This means that each year, the landlord must pay or credit the San Francisco tenant their security deposit interest on their annual due date.

How May Landlords Tender Security Deposit Interest to San Francisco Tenants?

The San Francisco Security Deposit Interest law provides two (2) methods that landlords may tender security deposit interest payments to San Francisco tenants.  The landlord may elect to either tender a direct payment to the San Francisco tenant or credit the accrued interest against the tenant’s rent.

How is Interest Calculated Where A San Francisco Tenant Vacates Their Unit Mid-Year?

For San Francisco tenants who reside in their unit for at least one (1) year, but vacate before their next annual due date, the landlord must pro-rate the security deposit interest payment for the partial year.  The interest rate in effect on the date the San Francisco tenant vacate applies.

After a Tenancy Ends, How Long Does the Landlord Have to Tender the Final Security Deposit Interest Payment to the San Francisco Tenant? 

After a San Francisco tenant vacates their home, the landlord has two (2) weeks to tender the final security deposit interest payment to the San Francisco tenant.

After a Tenancy Ends, Can San Francisco Landlords Use Accrued Interest to Offset Unpaid Rent, Clean a Dirty Unit, or Repair Damaged Allegedly Caused by the San Francisco Tenant?

Yes.  Where the security deposit is insufficient to cover outstanding debt, landlords can use the accrued interest to cover unpaid rent, clean a dirty unit, or repair a tenant’s damage to the unit.

Does the San Francisco Security Deposit Interest Law Cover San Francisco Tenancies That Do Not Last a Year?

No.  San Francisco tenants must reside in their home for at least one (1) year before the landlord owes them interest for their security deposit.

What Happens When A Landlord Doesn’t Pay San Francisco’s Mandated Security Deposit Interest?

The tenant is owed the interest.  The tenant should request prompt payment from the landlord in writing.  If a landlord refuses to comply with the San Francisco Security Deposit Interest law, the tenant can file in small claims court.  For assistance, consider visiting the San Francisco Superior Court ACCESS Center.  Unfortunately, the San Francisco Rent Board generally does not hear security deposit interest cases.

Can San Francisco Tenants Obtain Penalty Awards Against Landlords Who Don’t Pay Security Deposit Interest?

The San Francisco Security Deposit Interest law does not provide for any penalties for the late payment of security deposit interest, other than the amount of past-due interest.

To discuss San Francisco security deposit interest, San Francisco Rent Ordinance, or California Rent Control, contact Astanehe Law to speak with an attorney today.

Click here to read more about security deposits for California tenants and San Francisco tenants.