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, 2020 and June 30, 2021. You can either pay 25% each month or make a lump-sum payment before June 30. 

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

SB-91 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent for these months. The landlord cannot evict, but can take the tenant to small claims court starting August 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid.  SB-91 requires the tenant to provide landlord a signed declaration in response to a 15-day notice. 

I cannot pay rent between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021

For rent due between September 2020 – June 2021, SB-91 prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent until July 1, 2021, and allows the landlord to take the tenant to small claims court starting August 1, 2021 for any rent that is still unpaid. SB-91 requires the tenant to give the landlord signed declaration(s) in response to 15-day notice(s),  AND by June 30, 2021 to pay at least 25% of the missed rent from September – June rents (can be lump-sum).

There are currently no eviction protections after June 30, 2021

I could not pay rent before March 1, 2020

CDC Order prohibits evictions for almost any reason until April 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 March 31, 2021 (Ordinance No. 216-20) (Pending: extension through June 30, 2021). Starting April 1, evictions not based on unpaid rent may proceed subject to the City’s Rent Ordinance, unless extended.

The CDC Order prohibits nearly all evictions for covered tenants until April 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

Rental assistance 

Tenant counseling 

  • Bill Sorro Housing Program (BiSHoP
    Call or email at (415) 513-5177 or info@bishopsf.org 
    Languages: English, French, Spanish, Tagalog 

Counseling for residential hotel (SRO) tenants 

  • 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) 252-4600, Monday-Friday, 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm 

Resources for landlords 

 

Last updated March 08, 2021