Why You Should Not Sublet To Texans

Dave’s at the SF Appeal to answer your questions every Wednesday, so send them to him at tenant@sfappeal.com

I rented an apartment two blocks from the ballpark for the past 15 years or so, went through some bumpy roads with the landlord and still to this day have never signed a lease agreement. My question is, if I was to ‘rent’?, ‘lease’? ‘trade for cash’? a few nights during the World Series is there anything the landlord could do if he disagreed. He probably wouldn’t even know if this was to happen but I just wanted to ‘cover my bases'(pun intended) so to speak.

Talk about torture, what about the split-second eternity between Brian Wilson’s last pitch and the strike three call on Saturday night? It’s going to be wild in your neighborhood tonight!

So you wanna sublet your apartment? If you don’t have a lease, your agreement to rent the unit is an oral agreement. The only material term of your tenancy agreement is that you pay the rent on time. The “on time” requirement could be debatable. But why debate?

As I have said in past columns, your lease is the blueprint from which you read your rights and obligations for the tenancy. In your case your only obligation is to pay the rent. The landlord has the duty to provide a habitable premises and to refrain from interfering with your quiet enjoyment. That’s it.

In other words, because you do not have any prohibitions against subletting, you can sublet. It looks like the landlord can’t evict you if you temporarily rent your place to World Series visitors.

You don’t mention if your unit is subject to rent control. Many residential buildings close to the ballpark were built after 1979. As I pointed out in last week’s editorial, if your building is not protected by the just cause provisions of the Rent Ordinance, the landlord can evict you on a whim. If your building was built after 1979 and the landlord gets pissed that you sublet your unit for the World Series, he could just serve you a sixty-day notice to vacate. If your apartment was built before 1979, the landlord will have to grin and bear it.

For god’s sake, don’t sublet your apartment to Texans! Texans are a ruthless, barbaric people whose dubious contributions to American culture and society include bull riding (see bovine fornication), losing the Alamo, Enron, Dubya and Old Sparky. They all carry guns and fire them without provocation, usually to get your attention or to express emotion.

Your guests will drink Lone Star beer all day and all night, howling that forlorn, godawful racket they call country music. They will spit tobacco juice in your hallways and take potshots at any pets in the building. They will scare the living shit out of your neighbors.

Who knows what could happen when the Rangers lose.

You’ll come home to an apartment riddled with bullet holes and walls splattered with barbeque sauce and crude oil. Then your landlord will evict you for nuisance.

Good luck. Go Giants!

Crow & Rose's legal practice emphasizes eviction defense, wrongful eviction and other landlord tenant and real property matters.

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