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 local, state, and federal law.
Beginning in March of 2020, the Mayor of San Francisco issued several Orders that enacted a temporary “Eviction Moratorium” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, the Mayor’s Eviction Moratorium provided an extension on rent payments for tenants who were financially impacted by COVID-19, and temporarily banned most other types of residential evictions. The Mayor’s Order deferring rent payments was later superseded by the passage of State legislation described below.
In addition, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Ord. No. 216-20, which was later extended, that prohibits the eviction of residential tenants before September 30, 2021, unless the eviction is based on the non-payment of rent (in which case the statewide eviction protections described below apply), the Ellis Act, or is necessary due to violence-related issues or health and safety issues.
The State of California Enacts Statewide Eviction Protections for Non-Payment of Rent.
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. On January 29, 2021, these tenant protections were extended through June 30, 2021. On June 28, 2021, the Governor signed AB-832, which extends these tenant protections once again, through September 30, 2021. AB-832 requires the tenant to provide the landlord a signed declaration in response to a 15-day notice to pay rent, AND to pay at least 25% of the rent owed for the period between September 2020 and September 2021 by no later than September 30, 2021. The 25% rent amount can be paid in monthly increments, or in one lump-sum. Although AB-832 protects tenants from eviction if they comply with 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.
Rental assistance is available for eligible tenants. For more information about how to apply for Emergency Rental Assistance, please Click Here.
At the federal level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order that temporarily delayed some evictions, provided the tenant met certain eligibility requirements. While the CDC’s Order generally provided less protection to tenants than the local and state eviction moratoriums desribed above, it may have been applicable in some circumstances where those protections do not apply (for example, where rent is owed for a period prior to March 1, 2020). On August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that ended the CDC's eviction moratorium.
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.