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Rights & Rent Relief During COVID-19

This information on COVID-19 only applies to San Francisco tenants. If you live outside SF, you should contact Tenants Together.

If you are an SF resident with questions about this guide or your rights as a tenant, please contact us by calling one of our counseling lines: 

  • 415-703-8644 (Mon-Thurs, 1-5pm)
  • 415-947-9085 (Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Fri, 9am-noon) 

FACING AN EVICTION THREAT?: Know Your Local Protections

While the last of the state COVID eviction protections expired June 30, San Francisco’s stronger local protections are now in effect. In March, the board of supervisors passed an ordinance extending the local eviction moratorium until the state of emergency ends. That protection was preempted by the weaker statewide COVID eviction protections (AB 2179), but now that those state protections have ended, our local protections are in effect.

Here’s what the SF moratorium does:

  • Landlords are prohibited from evicting residential tenants for non-payment of rent that  came due on or after July 1, 2022 and was not paid due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Note that this legislation does not protect tenants against eviction if the rental debt was incurred prior to July 1, 2022).
  • Landlords are also prohibited from imposing late fees or penalties on this rent.
  • Landlords can seek to collect rent through civil court, but cannot evict for it.  
  • There is no specific notification requirement for tenants like there was with the state law.

These protections continue until the Mayor terminates her COVID-19 Emergency Proclamation. 

Landlords were not able to evict tenants who have a pending CA Rent Relief application (filed before April 1 of this year) until after June 30, but they could pursue payment in Small Claims Court. Now that the date has passed, they can pursue an eviction, but it may still help you in court to have a pending application. If you have questions about your pending state application, visit the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief website to check your application status or contact their call center at 833-430-2122.  

CAN’T PAY YOUR RENT?: Rental Assistance and Debt Eviction Protections

Rental assistance: While the state rent relief program is now closed, you can apply for rent from the SF Emergency Rental Assistance Program (SF ERAP) by contacting RADCo, a program of the Eviction Defense Collaborative. The RADCo intake number is 415-470-5211. For more information about SF ERAP, visit sf.gov/renthelp and apply at SFERAP.com

There are four time periods when you might owe back rent, and the rules for each of them differ.

  1. July 1, 2022–present
    If you owe rent for the period of July 1, 2022 through the end of the local COVID emergency declaration (no date is set for it to expire), you are protected against eviction for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19. Although you are not required to do so, you should write to the landlord each month you can’t pay rent, letting them know of your hardship (see sample letter here in English & Spanish). You should also apply for the SF Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Note that your landlord can still seek to collect the rent from you in civil court. You can apply for rent from the SF Emergency Rental Assistance Program (SF ERAP) by contacting RADCo, a program of the Eviction Defense Collaborative. The RADCo intake number is 415-470-5211. For more information about SF ERAP, visit sf.gov/renthelp and apply at SFERAP.com.

  2. October 1, 2021–June 30, 2022
    If you owe rent for this period, your landlord can try to evict you. However, if you applied for rent relief from the state program before March 31 and informed your landlord in writing, that may provide you some protection, unless your application is rejected. State law AB 2179 covers you, but only if you still have a pending application.

    If you have debt from April 1, 2022 and forward, you should apply the SF ERAP, but your landlord can still seek to collect the rent from you in civil court. You can apply for rent from the SF Emergency Rental Assistance Program (SF ERAP) by contacting RADCo, a program of the Eviction Defense Collaborative. The RADCo intake number is 415-470-5211. For more information about SF ERAP, visit sf.gov/renthelp and apply at SFERAP.com.

  3. September 1, 2020–September 30, 2021
    If you owe rent for this period, you must, by September 30, 2021 have paid at least 25% of your rent that became due during this period. You must also have sent your landlord the declaration that the pandemic prevented you from paying that rent. You can find the declaration here. This applies especially if you received a 15-day notice to pay or quit. State laws AB 3088, SB 91, and AB 832 protect you for this period.

    The remaining 75% of the rent was due by October 31. Your landlord cannot evict you for nonpayment of the 75%. They have to sue you in Small Claims Court.

    What if you couldn’t pay 25% of the rent you owed by September 30, 2021? Then the landlord can sue you for eviction in Superior Court. However, if you filed for rent relief from the state, that could help you in the court action. You should have informed the landlord that you filed for the rent relief.

  4. March 1, 2020–August 31, 2020
    If you owe rent for this period, you cannot be evicted for it if you submitted, in a timely fashion, a declaration of hardship to the landlord for each month you couldn’t pay rent. This is true even if you did not pay 25% of the rent due. You still owe that rent, but the landlord must go to Small Claims Court to collect it. San Francisco’s local eviction moratorium covers you.