San Francisco Tenants: if you can’t pay rent right now, you may be protected from eviction… but those protections aren’t automatic. Stay connected and informed!
Mayor London Breed signed a moratorium on most evictions during the state of emergency, but tenants must follow certain steps to be protected. If you cannot pay your rent, you must send a letter to your landlord and provide documentation of your loss of income due to Covid-19. You will be responsible for paying the rent within 6 months.
For more information on the steps and timeline to satisfy the partial eviction moratorium, click here.
Find a sample letter to send to your landlord here (PDF) (DOC).
OTHER CHANGES IN TENANT PROTECTIONS
Eviction Court: On 4/6/20, the California state Judicial Council adopted an emergency court rule that effectively stops all evictions, other than those necessary to protect public health and safety, for the duration of the COVID‐19 emergency. The rule is applicable to all courts and to all eviction cases, whether they are based on a tenant’s missed rent payment or another reason. This new court rule will apply until 90 day after the Governor lifts the state of emergency related to the COVID‐19 pandemic, or until it is amended or repealed by the Judicial Council.
As of 3/18/2020, the SF Superior Court is not processing new evictions until June 19th, except for in the case of evictions resulting from violence, threats of violence, or health and safety issues. The ACCESS Center and Small Claims courts are also closed until at least 5/1/2020.
Sheriff Evictions: As of 3/16/2020, the San Francisco Sheriff’s office is not executing eviction orders until further notice.
Rent Increases: On 4/21/2020, the board of supervisors unanimously passed legislation that bans all rent increases during the state of emergency. Once signed into law, the measure will apply retroactively starting April 7. Additionally, state law bans rent gouging during a state of emergency. That means it is illegal for any landlord to charge (or advertise) rents 10% or above what they were charging before February 10, even if you do not have rent control. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict tenants and then re-rent the vacated unit at a higher rent than what the evicted tenant was paying. Use this Tenants Together sample letter if you received a notice of increase above 10% after the February 10th Declaration of a State of Emergency.
Public and Affordable Housing: The SF Housing Authority says that they are honoring the local moratorium. Additionally, the CARES Act is a partial eviction moratorium that applies to most federally-subsidized affordable housing, including (but not limited to) public housing, Section 8, LIHTC, HOPWA, and Section 202 for the elderly, as well as rental properties with federally-backed loans. The CARES Act prohibits eviction filings for non-payment of rent or the charging of late fees between March 27 and July 24, 2020. For more information, see the National Housing Law Project’s detailed summary here.
If you are applying for affordable housing in San Francisco, all lotteries will go on as scheduled, but they are now only accepting online applications. See this page for more information.
SROs: On March 10th, the Department of Public health ordered that Residential hotels are required to clean all common areas and frequently touched surfaces (including shared bathrooms, kitchens, lobbies, doorknobs, light switches, etc.) at least once per day and more as needed. They must provide hand sanitizers in all common gathering areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, computer lounge, and provide soap in a dispenser in all communal sinks. They must keep a compliance log for all common areas - a log that records areas cleaned, date, time, and cleaning staff initials. The minimum cleaning standards can be found here.
For a resource guide created by the Mission SRO Collaborative for SRO tenants right now (including more information about the order), click here.