The Temporary Eviction Moratorium

Updated: 1/13/21

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 local, state, and federal law. 

At the local level, the Mayor of San Francisco has issued several Orders enacting a temporary “Eviction Moratorium” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, the Mayor’s Eviction Moratorium provides an extension on rent payments for tenants who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, and temporarily bans most residential evictions. The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has developed binding “Rules and Regulations for Tenants and Landlords” that implements the local Eviction Moratorium.

In addition, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance (Ordinance No. 93-20) that permanently protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent that was unpaid due to COVID-19 if the rent became due between March 16, 2020 and September 30, 2020.

On August 31, 2020, after the local COVID-19 eviction protections went into effect, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB-3088, also known as the “COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020”. AB-3088 is a statewide law, which provides in part that residential tenants who are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 cannot be evicted (now, or in the future) for unpaid rent that became due between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021, if certain requirements are met. However, the landlord may seek collection of the unpaid rent in small claims court beginning on March 1, 2021.

At the federal level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order on September 1, 2020, that delays some evictions until January 1, 2021, provided the tenant meets certain eligibility requirements. While the CDC’s Order provides less protection to tenants in general, it may be applicable in some circumstances where the local eviction protections or AB-3088 do not apply.

Finally, On November 30, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a new Ordinance (Ord. No. 216-20) that prohibits the eviction of residential tenants before April 1, 2021, unless the eviction is based on the non-payment of rent (in which case the rules described above apply), the Ellis Act, or is necessary due to violence-related issues or health and safety issues.

For detailed information, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has created a “Summary of Protections for Residential Tenants in San Francisco”, that integrates and summarizes the local, state, and federal protections.