ImaginOn March 13, 2020 Mayor London Breed issued and Executive Order that included new eviction rules and protections for tenants unable to pay rent. Under the Mayor’s Order, residential tenants who can demonstrate that they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to the COVID-19 emergency are eligible to defer rent payments - provided the tenant has followed procedures outlined by the San Francisco rent board.

On March 23, 2020 the Mayor’s Order was expanded to temporarily ban all residential evictions, except for evictions related to violence, threats of violence, health and safety issues, and evictions under the Ellis Act. On April 22, 2020 the Mayor’s Order was extended for an additional month, from April 22, 2020 to May 22, 2020.

On April 30, 2020 the Mayor’s Order was further extended by supplemental declaration from May 22, 2020 to June 30, 2020. The April 30, 2020 supplemental declaration also clarified and revised the “Rent Payment Extension” procedures protocol. Importantly, the protections of the “Rent Payment Extension” were expanded to include any tenant that is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, regardless of whether the tenant provided written notice to the landlord at the time of the missed rent payment.

Pursuant to the Mayor’s April 30, 2020 supplemental declaration, a landlord cannot evict a residential tenant for a missed rent payment that became due during the COVID-19 emergency until December 30, 2020 or later (six months after the Mayor’s Order expires), provided both (a) and (b) apply:

a. The missed rent payment became due after March 13, 2020, but before the expiration of the Mayor’s Order (currently June 30, 2020, but may be extended)

b. The tenant was unable to pay rent because of financial impacts related to COVID-19

At the time of the missed rent payment, the tenant should notify the landlord and provide supporting documentation if they are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts of COVID-19. However, failure to provide notice and/or documentation to the landlord does not affect a tenant’s ability to claim the protections of the Rent Payment Extension as a defense to an eviction lawsuit for non-payment of rent. If an eviction lawsuit is filed, the tenant will be required to provide supporting documentation in court, although the court has discretion to waive this requirement in some circumstances. For purposes of the Rent Payment Extension, “financial impact” means a substantial loss of household income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or extraordinary out-of-pocket expenses. A financial impact is “related to COVID-19” if it was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor’s Proclamation, the Local Health Officer’s Declaration of Local Health Emergency, or Orders or recommended guidance related to COVID-19 from local, state, or federal authorities.

Landlords and tenants are strongly encouraged to discuss payment plans for the tenant to repay all or a portion of the back rent. However, a payment plan may not shorten the six-month extension period or otherwise require a tenant to waive any of the protections of the Mayor’s Order. For more info go to SF rent board’s website: https://sfrb.org/temporary-eviction-moratorium.