EVICTION MORATORIUM & OTHER COVID-19 INFO FOR SF TENANTS

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, with input from Supervisor Dean Preston’s office, has issued an updated eviction moratorium that covers both non-payment of rent and eviction notices. If you can’t pay the rent because of a layoff or other loss of income due to the pandemic, you need to notify your landlord in writing within 30 days of the rent being due, and then seven days later, send him or her proof of that inability to pay (a layoff notice, etc.). 

COVID19 Sample Notification Letter to Landlord in English, Spanish and Chinese. There are also videos on the COVID-19 virus and tenants rightsin English, Spanish and Chinese at laesf.org/covid19

“Financial impact” is defined as a substantial loss of household income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs or extraordinary out-of-pocket expenses.

If the landlord does not receive this documentation within the 7 days, he or she “may attempt to proceed” with eviction under 37.9(a)1. If the documentation is provided, then the tenant has 30 days to pay the rent. If rent is not paid in 30 days, then the landlord and tenant must try and work out a payment plan. He cannot evict the tenant. If at the end of that month, the tenant cannot pay, then she has to submit another letter and explanation for why she can’t pay. 

This process must be repeated for every month that the tenant cannot pay rent, until 6 months after the final mayoral order expires, when owed rent is due.

At the end of the 30 days of the mayor’s order (around April 24), the tenant has 6 months to pay the rent that is owed, unless the mayor extends it and then it’s the end of her last order at the end of the crisis. During the 6 months, the LL can ask for documentation of the tenant’s inability to pay, but failure to provide the documentation does not “invalidate the six-month extension period.” At the end of the 6 months, the LL can try and evict for nonpayment. If the order is re-issued (which is sure to happen), the 6 months doesn’t start counting until after the final eviction moratorium order is expired (probably when the crisis is over).

A tenant does not need to provide bank statements or their employer’s phone number, if the landlord requests it. 

Note that the landlord cannot tack on a late fee, unless there’s one specified in the lease. 

There is also now a moratorium on attempts to evict, if the effective date of the eviction notice falls within 60 days AFTER the mayor’s order expires (unless it’s renewed). That includes all evictions except Ellis Act (which only the governor can stop) and nuisance for acts of violence and/or health and safety violations. Basically, it means we have a ban on evictions except for Ellis and nuisance until the crisis is over.

The Rent Board was also instructed to provide a form to send to landlords, informing them that they must send it to their tenants to let them know about the eviction moratorium. 

IN THE COURTS

There are two orders in effect right now, one local and the other statewide. Here is a summary of those two orders and how they affect SF. Note that this could change, so please keep checking back on this site to get the latest. This info was posted on April 8, 2020.

If you have an eviction notice and the landlord files an unlawful detainer (UD), the court will NOT be issuing a summons to you until 90 days after the emergency order expires or the Judicial Council withdraws its order. That means you won’t be receiving the UD and won’t have to respond at this time.

If you already have a UD, you won’t be defaulting on it by not responding at this time.

If you have an ongoing UD case and you have a settlement conference scheduled or an upcoming trial date, those are all postponed until June 19. 

The only exception to these provisions is if you have an eviction notice or UD for nuisance that involves a threat to public health or safety. Those will still move forward now. You should seek legal help if you have such an eviction. Contact us at 415-703-8644 and we can give you info on where to seek that legal help. We do not offer legal help.

THE SHERIFF

The sheriff is not doing evictions right now. If you have a 5-day notice to vacate from the sheriff, it is stayed for the time being. Further info will be posted, as it becomes available.

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDING INSPECTION

311 is the number to call to report emergency habitability issues. DBI is not taking calls or complaints via its usual phone or internet route. 

RENT GOUGING

During this emergency, rent gouging is not allowed. Landlords cannot charge more than 10% what they were charging February 10, even in non-rent controlled apartments. If your landlord tries to raise the rent above 10%, you should write him or her.  

Call our office at 415-703-8634 for more info, or if you have any other questions, and someone will get back to you Monday through Thursday, 1-5pm. The office is closed, but counselors are working from home.  If you live in the Richmond area, you can call Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9am-12noon, 415-947-9085 for counseling.