In a time when the spread of a potential pandemic…
San Francisco Permanently Bans Evictions for Unpaid Rent Due to COVID-19
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a new law prohibiting landlords from evicting residential tenants for unpaid rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading Up to Banning Evictions
Prior to this new law, San Francisco had already passed eviction moratoriums that delayed a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant for unpaid rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law will now prohibit landlords from ever issuing eviction notices based on rent that went unpaid during the months of April, May, June, and July 2020; however, if Governor Newsom extends his statewide order relating to non-payment of rent evictions beyond July, the San Francisco law will be extended for the same period of time.
How to Qualify for Protections in San Francisco
To qualify for protections under the new law, tenants must be able to show that their failure to pay arose of out of a substantial decrease in household income (such as layoffs, reduced working hours, or substantial out-of-pocket expenses) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or any government response to it. Tenants may document this with items such as bank statements, pay stubs, employment termination notices, unemployment insurance filings, and sworn affidavits.
It should be noted that this new law does not cancel or forgive rent payments. While it prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for this unpaid rent, a landlord may still attempt to recover the money through other methods, like Small Claims Court or other legal action.
Similar measures are being considered in other cities in California, and a statewide measure has also been proposed. Landlords have already suggested that certain moratoriums on evictions at the state and local levels violate constitutional protections, so lawsuits to challenge the new San Francisco ordinance – and any other similarly passed laws – can be expected.
To learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant in San Francisco and throughout the state of California, please contact us for a consultation.
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