If you live outside of San Francisco: your protections may be different. See the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project's map of updated protections across the US here, and theCoronavirus Resource Guide developed by Tenants Together for California renters.
San Francisco Tenants: if you can’t pay rent right now you may be protected from eviction… but those protections aren’t automatic.
While courts that process evictions are currently closed for most cases, and the sheriff is not currently executing eviction orders, San Francisco's current eviction moratorium requires tenants to notify their landlord if they cannot pay rent due to hardships caused by the stay in place order or coronavirus.
You are not alone. Please reach out to a tenant rights group if you do not plan to pay your rent this month!
BACKGROUND: On March 13, 2020, Mayor London Breed signed a temporary moratorium on non-payment evictions due to hardships caused by COVID-19. The full text of the 3/13 order can be found here. On March 23, she issued a supplemental order that extends the moratorium to most no-cause evictions, like Owner Move-ins or Capital Improvements and clarifies the timeline for tenants who cannot pay. The rules apply most housing in San Francisco, including BMRs and other units where the rent is regulated by the city.
NO FAULT EVICTIONS: No-fault evictions cannot be executed during the COVID-19 state of emergency, or within 60 days after the emergency declaration has ended. This includes Owner Move In evictions, or Capital Improvement evictions. Unfortunately, Ellis Act evictions will remain in place unless the governor allows for them to be waived. If you receive a notice of eviction, for any reason, we recommend you immediately contact the Eviction Defense Collaborative, which has a number for legal assistance during shelter-in-place: 415-659-9184.
NONPAYMENT EVICTIONS: During the state of emergency, a landlord cannot evict you if: You are unable to pay rent because of the financial impacts related to COVID-19, and you notify the landlord within 30 days of when the rent was due that you are unable to pay due to the financial impacts related to COVID-19. Follow the steps laid out by the Mayor's Office on Housing. It is okay to combine steps 1 & 2 into one letter, but you should state in your letter that you are satisfying both steps:
1. NOTICE – Every month during this order that you cannot pay rent, you must tell your landlord that you cannot pay within 30 days of the rent being due.
2. DOCUMENTATION –Within 7 days of providing notice, explain in writing the (verifiable) financial impact that you are experiencing. While not required, it is strongly suggested that you provide supporting documents. The definition of “financial impact” includes reduced income due to factors such as work hours, temporary business closure or slowdown, layoffs, and/or increased expenses related to COVID-19.
3. SIX MONTH PAYMENT PLAN – if you have not paid your rent within 30 days, your landlord may write you a notice saying that you have not paid the rent owed and try to negotiate a payment plan. You have 6 months from the date the mayor’s order expires (currently April 23rd, but we expect the mayor to extend the order) to pay back the rent before the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings.
4. REPEAT THIS PROCESS EACH MONTH -- Repeat steps 1 and 2 every month that you cannot pay rent for as long as the moratorium is still in place.
What happens if my landlord tries to evict me for not paying rent?
A: Some landlord attorneys are sending false and intimidating letters right now, but as long as you provide the written documentation to your landlord of your inability to pay rent within 30 days of it being due, your landlord cannot evict you for nonpayment due to COVID-19 related loss of income. If your landlord tries to proceed, immediately contact the Eviction Defense Collaborative, which has a number for legal assistance during shelter-in-place: 415-659-9184.
Do I still have to pay the rent someday, even if they can’t evict me right now?
Yes. The new city policy stops eviction for COVID-related nonpayment for up to six months after the state of emergency ends, but it does not waive the rent. We are joining groups from around the state calling on the Governor to issue a waiver of the rent, and we will keep working to get rid of that rent debt once and for all! Join us!