New Eviction Protections for School Employees & Families with Children During the School Year

Updated: June 29, 2016

Effective May 22, 2016, Rent Ordinance Section 37.9(j) was amended to prohibit certain no-fault evictions during the school year if a child under 18 or a person who works at a school in San Francisco resides in the rental unit, is a tenant in the unit or has a custodial or family relationship with a tenant in the unit, and the tenant has resided in the unit for 12 months or more.

These eviction protections apply to the following types of no-fault evictions where the effective date of the eviction notice falls during the school year: owner/relative move-in [37.9(a)(8)], condominium conversion [37.9(a)(9)], demolition/permanent removal of unit from housing use [37.9(a)(10)], temporary eviction to perform capital improvements [37.9(a)(11)], or substantial rehabilitation [37.9(a)(13)].

There is one exception to the new eviction protections: a landlord may proceed with a temporary capital improvement eviction under 37.9(a)(11) during the school year, even when there are protected tenants in the unit, where the temporary eviction is in connection with a mandatory soft-story seismic retrofit under Building Code Chapter 34B and where the landlord has provided notice and compensation as required by Administrative Code Chapter 65A.

The previous exceptions for owners that applied to owner move-in evictions during the school year (i.e. owner has only one rental unit in the building or owner is moving in with his/her own child under 18) no longer apply. 

The tenant has 30 days after service of the of the landlord's written request or eviction notice to claim protected status under 37.9(j). If the tenant does not submit a timely claim of protected status, such failure shall be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected from eviction under 37.9(j). Any dispute regarding a tenant's protected status may be decided by the court or the Rent Board.  Section 37.9(j) is set forth below.

            (j) The following additional provision shall apply to a landlord who seeks to recover a rental unit by utilizing the grounds enumerated in Sections 37.9(a)(8), (a)(9), (a)(10), (a)(11), or (a)(12).

                        (1) It shall be a defense to an eviction under Sections 37.9(a)(8), (a)(9), (a)(10), (a)(11), or (a)(12) if a child under the age of 18 or any educator resides in the unit, the child or educator is a tenant in the unit or has a custodial or family relationship with a tenant in the unit, the tenant has resided in the unit for 12 months or more, and the effective date of the notice of termination of tenancy falls during the school year.

                        (2) Section 37.9(j)(1) shall not apply where the landlord is seeking to temporarily evict or temporarily sever housing services in order to perform seismic work required by Building Code Chapter 34B and has provided notice and compensation as required by Administrative Code Chapter 65A. 

                        (3) Within 30 days of personal service by the landlord of a written request, or, at the landlord’s option, a notice of termination of tenancy under Sections 37.9(a)(8), (a)(9), (a)(10), (a)(11), or (a)(12), the tenant must submit a statement with supporting evidence to the landlord, if the tenant claims to be a member of the class protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). The landlord’s written request or notice shall contain a warning that a tenant’s failure to submit a statement within the 30 day period shall be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). The landlord shall file a copy of the landlord’s request or notice with the Rent Board within 10 days of service on the tenant. A tenant’s failure to submit a statement within the 30-day period shall be deemed an admission that the tenant is not protected from eviction by Section 37.9(j). A landlord may challenge a tenant’s claim of protected status either by requesting a hearing with the Rent Board or, at the landlord’s option, through commencement of eviction proceedings, including service of a notice of termination of tenancy. In the Rent Board hearing or the eviction action, the tenant shall have the burden of proof to show protected status. No civil or criminal liability under Section 37.9(e) or (f) shall be imposed upon a landlord for either requesting or challenging a tenant’s claim of protected status.

                        (4) For purposes of this Section 37.9(j), the following terms have the following meanings:

“Custodial relationship” means, with respect to a child and a tenant, that the tenant is a legal guardian of the child, or has a court-recognized caregiver authorization affidavit for the child, or has provided full-time custodial care of the child pursuant to an agreement with the child’s legal guardian or court-recognized caregiver and has been providing that care for at least one year or half of the child’s lifetime, whichever is less.

“Educator” means any person who works at a school in San Francisco as an employee or independent contractor of the school or of the governing body that has jurisdiction over the school, including, without limitation, all teachers, classroom aides, administrators, administrative staff, counselors, social workers, psychologists, school nurses, speech pathologists, custodians, security guards, cafeteria workers, community relations specialists, child welfare and attendance liaisons, and learning support consultants.

“Family relationship” means that the person is the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle of the child or educator, or the spouse or domestic partner of such relations.

“School” means any state-licensed child care center, state-licensed family day care, and/or any public, private, or parochial institution that provides educational instruction for students in any or all of the grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

“School year” means the first day of instruction for the Fall Semester through the last day of instruction for the Spring Semester, as posted on the San Francisco Unified School District website for each year.

Update #1 (June 29, 2016):

On June 10, 2016, the San Francisco Apartment Association and Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute filed a lawsuit in Superior Court Case No. 515087 challenging this Ordinance amendment.  The amendment remains in effect.  Further updates will be provided when there is a court decision in this case.