In This City, Certain Rental Properties Won’t Let Their Tenants… Cook?

March 27, 2019

Ask anyone living in or near San Francisco and they’ll tell you that housing isn’t cheap, nor is it easy to find. But living in San Francisco just got a lot harder, according to SFGate. Many San Fran landlords are leasing “no cooking” apartments. You like making your own food? Then don’t live in San Francisco, we guess.

And these dorm-like apartments aren’t that much cheaper than those with cooking access. As SFGate found, one person on Craigslist is looking for $1,790 a month for their master bedroom space in San Francisco’s West Portal. Another seeks a tenant willing to pay $1,400 a month for a master bedroom suite with private entrance in North San Jose. The only thing is that landlord requests:

“No drugs, No marijuana/pot, No smoking, No pets, No overnight guests,” and… “No cooking.”

Some ads offer hot plates, microwaves, and mini fridges. But please, do not even try to use the kitchen — that is, if a kitchen is even available to use. A $1,500 per month studio apartment up for grabs near Stanford lacks a stove and oven. In a studio apartment.

So, what the heck is going on?

As SFGate reports, San Francisco housing has become so expensive that some homeowners have felt it necessary to rent rooms in their houses just to help pay the bills.

When and if they do this, some choose to forbid tenant access to common spaces, especially if there are kids living within the home.

Yeah. “WHAT?” is right.

But is renting out “no cooking” housing even legal?

Technically, yes. A spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told SFGate that there is no federal law that states one must include a kitchen in their rental.

And although the California Health and Safety Code states that rental tenants must have access to amenities like a working toilet, heat, running water and a “kitchen sink,” California law also states that landlords do not have to supply refrigerators or stoves.

What’s worse is that a landlord can advertise an apartment and state that there is a kitchen, but later add a “no cooking” or “no kitchen access (except to the sink)” clause in the rental agreement.

This would be a real [insert obscenity here] move, but it can be, and probably has been, done.

Blindsided tenants can fight back, thankfully.

Joseph Tobener, an attorney specializing in tenant law, told SFGate that all California rental units must have access to a kitchen in order to have certificates of occupancy.

If a kitchen does not exist, then the landlord should not be collecting rent.

If a landlord takes away kitchen access post-move in even though a kitchen is available, the tenant can file a “decrease in housing services” complaint with any California city, according to Jennifer Rakowski, a San Francisco Rent Board supervisor, who spoke to SFGate.

Renting in San Francisco, or anywhere, can get messy if the fine print is not read.

If you’re in the midst of apartment hunting in the most expensive city in America, it’s so important to read the ~entire~ Craigslist ad.

Otherwise, you’ll be getting basically nothing for your massive monthly check.

Either be rich, or know someone who knows a great, semi-affordable place.

That’s really the only way to land a spot in San Fran.

At least you’d have enough money to eat out every night.

No cooking allowed, remember!

Count. Your. Blessings.

That’s another option — you can live with an entire neighborhood.

Privacy may be limited but at least you *might* have kitchen access.

And they’d still have about a million left to use as spending money.

Fun!

Listen, as funny as it is for those of us who don’t have to look for housing in San Francisco, it’s a damned nightmare for those who do.

Hopefully you’ve saved enough and can afford the thousands of dollars it will take to submit a deposit.

If you get that far, that is.

Seriously, these apartments are camouflaged, we swear.

Protect yourself and read the contract thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

Or, at least make sure you have those old appliances from your college days.

Then again, it might just be easier to apartment search in the ‘burbs.