Rent Relief

Here to Stay

Here to Stay
by Zeph Fishlyn for SFADC 2021

Are you behind on rent? You don’t have to move! There is help available.

Updated May 2022

As of April 1, 2022, the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program is no longer accepting applications. However, you may now apply for rental assistance through the San Francisco Emergency Rental Assistance Program (SF ERAP). Learn more about eligibility requirements by visiting sf.gov/renthelp or read our Frequently Asked Questions below.

If you receive any eviction papers (documents that contain words like “summons” or “complaint” or “unlawful detainer”), please contact legal@evictiondefense.org or 415-659-9184 as soon as possible, or visit the Eviction Defense Collaborative in-person 1338 Mission Street (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10-11:30 am and 1-2:30 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may be eligible for help from SF ERAP if you have a household income that is at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) and you can demonstrate risk of homelessness or housing instability, such as loss of income, past-due rent, or inability to pay rent that will come due. Assistance is available regardless of immigration status and will not be considered for public charge.

 

The SF ERAP Program can help with rent debt not covered by the state rental assistance program, future rent, and security deposit and/or first and last months’ rent for a unit you are planning to move into.

For rent that came due between April 2020 – March 2022 (the period the state rent relief program covered), you are eligible for help from the local program if:

  • You did not apply to the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program
  • You applied but were denied/ your appeal was also denied
  • You received some rental assistance, but it did not cover the full period, or you exceeded rental assistance available from the state program.

See below if you have a pending application with the state program that has not yet been processed.

The last day to apply to the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program was March 31, 2022.  If you applied by March 31, your application will be processed by the State of California and all eligible applicants will receive assistance. You may also file appeals past the March 31 application deadline if you receive a denial from the state program or if you received less than you requested. You can receive status updates for your state program application by calling the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program Call Center at (833) 430-2122.

State law AB 2179 protects you from an eviction for this rent debt while your application is pending.  The court is not supposed to allow an eviction lawsuit to proceed for rent debt from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2022 unless your landlord can show that you do not have a pending application with the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program or your application was denied. If you have been served with an eviction notice or lawsuit, contact the Eviction Defense Collaborative immediately to help you with the legal process (415-659-9184, legal@evictiondefense.org).

Don’t move out! Evictions are a legal process, and you have rights and access to free help. If your landlord is harassing you, asking you to sign documents, or telling you to move, reach out to a tenant rights group right away.

If you receive any eviction papers (documents that contain words like “summons” or “complaint” or “unlawful detainer”), please contact the Eviction Defense Collaborative as soon as possible.

 

Depending on when your rent debt is from, different protections may apply:

  • For rent due March 1 – August 31, 2020: AB 832 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent for these months. The landlord cannot evict but can take you to small claims court starting November 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid.  You must provide landlord a signed declaration in response to a 15-day notice. 
  • For rent due September 1, 2020- September 30, 2021: AB-2179 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent from this period as long as you give your landlord a signed declaration(s) in response to 15-day notice(s),  AND pay at least 25% of the missed rent from this period by September 30.
  • For tenants with pending applications in the state rent relief program: AB 2179 protects you from an eviction for this rent debt while your application is pending. The court is not supposed to allow an eviction lawsuit to proceed for rent debt from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2022 unless your landlord can show that you do not have a pending application with the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program or your application was denied.

You should apply to the local rent relief program. Bay Legal also offers a Consumer Rent Debt Clinic on the fourth Friday of each month.  RSVP is required: Please call 415-982-1300 to RSVP and get details about the location and time.

 

No.  You will not be asked about immigration status. Help from rent relief programs also does not qualify as a “public charge” that can affect those applying for a green card. Learn more about eligibility for various public programs based on immigration status here.

 

Yes.  If you are separate financial households for other purposes (like filing taxes or applying for other benefits), then you can apply separately for rent relief as well.

You can apply and be eligible for rental assistance regardless of whether your housing was built with permits.  The information you provide will not be used for other purposes.