The Temporary Eviction Moratorium
In addition to the existing “just-cause” requirements of the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, residential tenants in San Francisco have new protections against eviction during COVID-19 originating from state and local law.
The State of California Enacts Statewide Eviction Protections for Non-Payment of Rent.
Beginning in August of 2020, the State of California enacted statewide eviction protections for tenants unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. These laws provide that no tenant can be evicted as a result of rent owed due to a COVID-19 related hardship that became due between March 4, 2020 and August 31, 2020 if, upon request from the landlord, the tenant provides a declaration of hardship according to the legislation’s timelines.
For unpaid rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship that became due between September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, tenants who receive a notice from their landlord must also pay at least 25 percent of the rent due for those 13 months before September 30, 2021 to avoid eviction. The 25% rent amount can be paid in monthly increments, or in one lump-sum. Although state law protects tenants from eviction if they meet the requirements, the unpaid rent is not forgiven or cancelled, and the landlord may take the tenant to small claims court starting on November 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid. However, a small claims action IS NOT an eviction action. In order to evict a tenant before March 31, 2022 due to non-payment of rent, the landlord must prove that they applied for government rental assistance but none was approved or received for the amount owed, and that no applications are pending for such rental assistance (whether filed by the landlord or tenant).
Rental assistance is available for eligible tenants. For more information about how to apply for Emergency Rental Assistance, please Click Here.
Local Eviction Protections Enacted by the City of San Francisco for Evictions Other Than Non-Payment of Rent.
For evictions other than non-payment of rent, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Ord. No. 216-20, which was extended several times, that currently prohibits the eviction of residential tenants before December 31, 2021, unless the eviction is based on the non-payment of rent (in which case the statewide eviction protections described above apply), the Ellis Act, or is necessary due to violence or health and safety-related issues.
How To Get More Help
For more information, please visit the website of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) or speak to a Rent Board Counselor by phone at 415-252-4600. Note that the Rent Board does not provide legal advice, and the information contained herein will not address all of the questions that may arise in response to these recent changes in eviction procedures. These laws are complicated, and this information may be updated in the future. If you receive an eviction notice or have any concerns about what you need to do to serve or respond to an eviction notice during the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that you contact an attorney or advocacy organization for assistance.