About the COVID-19 emergency tenant protections

If you can pay your rent, you should do so. However, if you cannot pay and your landlord tries to evict you, these protections may safeguard you against eviction.

What to know

These government actions are difficult to understand: if you need legal advice about a specific situation, you should contact an attorney or the Eviction Defense Collaborative at (415) 659-9184 or legal@evictiondefense.org. You can also contact the Rent Board, a mediator, or a tenant counselor for more information.

Please keep in mind, rent is still owed – it has not been forgiven or cancelled. You should respond to any nonpayment notice from a landlord within 15 days, and you should pay at least 25% of the rent due each month between September 1 and January 31. You can either pay 25% each month or make a lump-sum payment before January 31.

Mayor Breed’s Order was the first to establish emergency tenant protections during COVID-19. Mayor Breed extended this Order on August 25. The rules and regulations for this Order are available here. A complete summary of local, state, and federal emergency tenant protections can be found here.

 

I could not pay rent between March 1 - August 31, 2020

AB-3088 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent for these months. The landlord cannot evict, but can take the tenant to small claims court starting March 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid. AB-3088 requires the tenant to provide landlord a signed declaration in response to 15-day notice. There are special rules for high-income tenants.

Ordinance No. 93-20 also prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent, but only applies to rent that fell due March 16 – September 30 (it does not apply to rent that fell due between March 1 – 15). Ordinance No. 93-20 does not have a 15-day notice or eligibility requirement, but the tenant must show documentation of hardship to the court, if sued.

I cannot pay rent between September 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021

Ordinance No. 93-20 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent that fell due during September 2020. It does not apply to unpaid rent from October 1 or later. Ordinance No. 93-20 only requires the tenant to show documentation of hardship to the court, if sued.

For rent due between September – January 2021, AB-3088 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent until February 1, 2021, and allows the landlord to take the tenant to small claims court starting March 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid. AB-3088 requires the tenant to give the landlord signed declaration(s) in response to 15-day notice(s), AND by January 31, 2021 to pay at least 25% of the missed rent from September – January rents (can be lump-sum); special rules apply for high-income tenants.

There are currently no eviction protections after January 31, 2021.

I could not pay rent before March 1, 2020

CDC Order prohibits evictions for almost any reason until January 1, 2021. There are exceptions.

All adults in household must provide a signed declaration to the landlord. There are income and other eligibility requirements.

For more information, visit the National Housing Law Project’s website.

Can I be evicted even if I am paying my rent in full?

Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment can proceed only if necessary due to violence, threat of violence, health/safety issues, or Ellis Act. However, this limit on evictions is set to expire on November 30, 2020. Starting December 1, evictions not based on unpaid rent may proceed subject to the City’s Rent Ordinance.

The CDC Order prohibits nearly all evictions for covered tenants until January 1, 2021, and allows a declaration to be provided to the landlord at any time (more information is available here).

Your rent cannot be increased if you live in a City-regulated or a rent-controlled unit

If you live in a unit regulated by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development or the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, your rent cannot be increased until November 1, 2020.

If you live in a rent-controlled unit, your rent cannot be increased until October 21, 2020. Click here for more information about the temporary rent freeze emergency legislation.

Get help

Financial assistance is available through the City’s Give2SF Housing Stabilization Program. Funding is limited and we are providing financial assistance based on each applicant’s vulnerability relative to other applicants.

Tenant counseling

Counseling for residential hotel (SRO) tenants

  • Central City SRO Collaborative
    Call (415) 775-7110
  • La Voz Latina
    Call (415) 983-3970
  • Chinatown SRO Collaborative or SRO Families United Collaborative
    Call (415) 984-2730
  • Mission SRO Collaborative
    Call  (415) 282-6209 ext. 150 

Legal help for tenants

Mediation (available to tenants and landlords)

General information for tenants

  • Visit the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition’s website 

Counseling at the San Francisco Rent Board (available to tenants and landlords)

  • Call (415) 252-4631, Monday-Friday, 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm

Resources for landlords

 

Last updated September 28, 2020