[August 3, 2022 Update: The San Francisco Apartment Association and Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the legislation described below. The case is San Francisco Apartment Assoc. et al. v. City and County of San Francisco, Superior Court Case No. CPF-22-517718. On March 23, 2022, the Court issued an Order temporarily staying the legislation pending resolution of the case. On July 22, 2022, the Superior Court issued a decision granting the petitioners' challenge in part. The decision prevents the City from enforcing the legislation solely with respect to evictions based on the nonpayment of rent. However, the decision lifts the temporary stay and permits the legislation to be enforced with respect to other types of evictions for which a 10-day warning notice is required. The City has not yet indicated if it will appeal the judgement.]
Ordinance No. 18-22, which became effective on March 14, 2022, requires landlords pursuing certain types of evictions to first provide the tenant a written warning letter and an opportunity to cure.
The Rent Ordinance identifies various “just causes” for landlords to evict their tenants. Sections 37.9(a)(1)-(6) involve situations where the tenant is at fault for the eviction: (1) failure to pay rent; (2) violating a material term of the tenancy; (3) committing or allowing a nuisance that is severe, continuing, or recurring; (4) using or permitting the unit to be used for any illegal purpose; (5) refusal to execute a written extension or renewal of the lease under the same terms as existed previously; and (6) refusal to allow the landlord access to the unit as required by state or local law. If the tenant commits one of these violations, the landlord may have just cause to evict. However, the Rent Ordinance does not generally specify how much time the landlord must give the tenant to cure the violation before beginning the eviction process.
What does this legislation change?
The legislation effective March 14, 2022 amends Rent Ordinance Section 37.9 to require landlords to give the tenant a 10-day warning letter and opportunity to cure before serving a formal eviction notice under Sections 37.9(a)(1-6). However, a 10-day warning letter is not required if (a) a longer notice and cure period already applies (for example, under the terms of the lease agreement between the parties), (b) the tenant is causing or creating an “imminent risk of physical harm to persons or property”; or (c) the landlord is seeking to recover possession based on the non-payment of rent that came due between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022 (a specific notice period is required by AB 832 during that time). The new warning letter would precede a formal eviction notice under California Code of Civil Procedure §1161, not replace it, and any additional “cure” period required by State law must be provided in addition to the 10-day warning period.
In addition, the legislation requires the Rent Board to create a standard form that landlords may use to provide the required warning to their tenants. The form can be found here in our Forms Center and is available in our office.