Topic No. 405: The Appeal Process
If a party believes the Administrative Law Judge's decision is in error, that an abuse of discretion occurred or that a financial hardship will arise if the decision stands, the party can appeal the decision to the Rent Board Commission, which is composed of tenant, landlord and neutral representatives appointed by the Mayor of San Francisco. The Commissioners will consider the appeal at a regularly scheduled public meeting.
For purposes of an appeal consideration, the Commissioners review the Administrative Law Judge's decision, the appeal and accompanying documents, any written submissions that were timely filed by the parties before the date of the appeal consideration and any written comments submitted by the Administrative Law Judge whose decision is being challenged. The Commissioners may also review other material from the administrative record, as it deems necessary. No testimony is taken and no oral argument is permitted during the appeal consideration.
Appeals must be filed on the Rent Board appeal form within 15 days of the mailing of the decision. If the appeal is filed after this mandatory time limitation, a "good cause" reason for the late filing must be provided. The appeal should include the specific issues you disagree with and why you disagree with the decision. Be sure to include all relevant evidence or explanations that may support your position in an organized, concise and thorough manner.
The Appeal form contains instructions for filing an appeal, including the number of copies and envelopes required. To receive a copy of the Appeal form, you can fax it to yourself by calling 252-4660 or visit our website at www.sfgov.org/rentboard. The appeal form is also available at our office.
A party may file a written response to an appeal at least one week prior to the appeal consideration. A copy must be sent to the opposing party at the same time. The appealing party may file a written reply to an opposing party's statements, which must also be served on the opposing party. Last minute submissions to the Commissioners of more than one page may not be reviewed.
Parties do not need to appear at the appeal consideration since no testimony or oral argument can be presented. Shortly after the appeal consideration, the Rent Board will send the parties a Notice of Action on Appeal setting forth the Commissioners' motion on the appeal.
When the Commissioners consider an appeal, they may take any of the following actions:
- deny the appeal;
- remand the case to an Administrative Law Judge for further action;
- schedule an appeal hearing before the Commissioners; or
- order correction of numerical or clerical errors in the decision.
If a case is remanded to an Administrative Law Judge, a decision might be made on the record or there may be another hearing on some or all of the issues in the case. If the Commissioners decide to conduct an appeal hearing themselves, all parties will be able to present testimony, evidence and oral arguments at the hearing. The parties do not necessarily need an attorney for this proceeding, although they are entitled to obtain representation.
Any party aggrieved by a final action or decision of the Board may seek judicial review by filing a Writ of Administrative Mandamus in the Superior Court, which must be done within 90 days of the Rent Board's final action.