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San Francisco Renters & COVID-19 Updates

San Francisco Renters & COVID-19 Updates

San Francisco Renters & COVID-19 Updates


San Francisco Renters & COVID-19 Updates

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all aspects of life. The economic ramifications have especially affected one of our basic needs—housing. Although the current situation has given some renters more leverage in the Bay Area housing market; that is not the case for those struggling to keep up with rent payments because they've been laid off or furloughed.

Fortunately, there have been numerous laws and special orders passed on the local, state, and national level in response to the coronavirus crisis. Here's an update for San Francisco renters impacted by COVID-19. 

Current San Francisco Tenant Protections

Right before the shelter-in-place went into effect in March, Mayor London Breed established emergency tenant protections. This includes the order to temporarily suspend evictions for tenants affected by COVID-19. This order is currently in place until December 31, 2020. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that permanently protects COVID-19 affected tenants from evictions for non-payment of rent that was due between March 16, 2020- September 30, 2020.

On October 7, 2020, legislation authorized by San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston was approved that bans "no fault" residential eviction, until March 31, 2021, including:

  • Owner move-in
  • Capital improvements
  • Demolition evictions, but not including
  • Ellis Act evictions.

California Tenant Protections

On August 31, 2020, the governor signed AB-3088 (COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020). This Act provides that (if certain requirements are met) residential tenants who can't pay rent due to the coronavirus can't be evicted presently, or in the future for unpaid rent. This applies to unpaid rent that was due between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021. Although eligible tenants can't be evicted, they still owe the rent. The landlord can try to recover the unpaid rent in small claims court starting March 1, 2021.

Under AB-3088, the tenant must:

  • give the landlord a signed declaration in response to a 15-day notice
  • and by January 31, 2021 must pay at least 25% of the missed rent from September – January rents (lump-sum is acceptable)
  • For high-income tenants, special rules apply.

Federal Tenant Protections

On September 1, 2020 the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that prohibits evictions for almost any Covid-related reason. Covered renters must show either that they would be at risk of homelessness or that they are living in overcrowded housing. This is in effect until January 1, 2021.

If You're a Renter who Needs Help Dealing with COVID-19, Talk to a Lawyer Now

It's difficult to live your life if you're also worried about having a roof over your head. Luckily, there are ways to help you stay in your place. However, you want to make sure that you understand your rights and the limitations of these tenant protections. You can turn to the experienced tenants rights attorneys at Wolford Wayne for help. Our team of skilled attorneys has been advocating for Bay Area renters' rights for years. Contact us today to get started.


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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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