New State Law Limits Relocation Payments for Temporary Displacement of Tenants for Less Than 20 Days

Civil Code Section 1947.9, effective January 1, 2013, specifies the amount of relocation benefits that landlords must pay tenants for temporary evictions for less than 20 days.  The amount of relocation payments due to a tenant household In such circumstances is therefore governed by Civil Code Section 1947.9 and not by Rent Ordinance Section 37.9C or the provisions concerning temporary evictions to do capital improvement work or lead remediation work pursuant to Ordinance Sections 37.9(a)(11) or 37.9(a)(14).

Civil Code Section 1947.9(a)(1) provides as follows for San Francisco rental units that are subject to the Rent Ordinance:

Levels of compensation for the temporary displacement of a tenant household for less than 20 days shall be limited to both of the following:

(A) Temporary housing and living expenses, of $275.00 per day per tenant household. This limit may be adjusted annually by the city and county in an amount equal to the Consumer Price Index, beginning on January 1, 2014.

(B) Actual moving expenses if it is necessary to move the possessions of the tenant household.

Civil Code Section 1947.9 also gives landlords the option of providing the displaced tenant household with a comparable unit plus actual moving expenses for short-term displacements of less than 20 days, instead of paying the specified relocation benefits. The temporary unit must be comparable to the tenant household's existing housing in location, size, number of bedrooms, accessibility, type, and quality of construction, and proximity to services and institutions upon which the displaced tenant household depends.

Civil Code Section 1947.9 only affects the amount of relocation payments owed to a tenant household temporarily displaced for less than 20 days, and does not otherwise affect the terms of the tenancy or the applicability of the Rent Ordinance. Thus, the tenant is obligated to pay rent during the short-term displacement, and the landlord remains subject to the eviction controls and other requirements of the Rent Ordinance.

The text of Civil Code Section 1947.9 can be found at the following link: 

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1947.9.&lawCode=CIV