Aug 8, 2022 - Politics

Landlords must give renters 10-day warning before eviction notice

Illustration of San Francisco City Hall with lines radiating from it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Landlords in San Francisco must now provide a 10-day warning to tenants before serving eviction notices, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development announced Friday.

Why it matters: Tenant protections are important in San Francisco, one of the most expensive rental markets in the country.

  • Despite policies like rent control and requirements for "just cause" evictions, the city still has an above-average number of unhoused people per 100,000 residents.
  • Renter protections improved amid COVID-19, but the latest legislation extends protections to tenants once citywide pandemic-related safeguards expire, which will happen when Mayor London Breed lifts the emergency ordinance.
  • The 10-day notice will give tenants more time to address issues — like ongoing nuisances or illegal activity in-unit — to avoid potential displacement.

Details: Previously, landlords only had to send three-day eviction notices.

The new legislation doesn't apply when:

  • A landlord and tenant have contractually agreed on a longer notice and remediation period.
  • A tenant poses "imminent risk of physical harm" to people or property.
  • The tenant is not paying rent.

What they're saying: Housing advocates have called the law a "game-changer," helping "save thousands of San Franciscans who would otherwise lose their homes."

Catch up quick: San Francisco District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston introduced the legislation in December 2021. Supervisors unanimously passed the measure in February, and Mayor Breed approved it the following week.

  • The law went into effect in March, but about a week later, the San Francisco Apartment Association and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute challenged the validity of the ordinance, arguing it fell outside of the city's jurisdiction. Instead, the suit argued, the state should be responsible for eviction law. The implementation of the ordinance was postponed pending outcome of the lawsuit.
  • In July, a state Superior Court judge ruled the legislation would not apply to tenants who failed to pay rent.

The other side: Janan New, executive director with the SF Apartment Association, called the ruling a "partial victory." In an interview with Axios, New said the association "can live with" it since property owners tend to document housing violations like barking dogs or parking violations.

What's next: The city has until Sept. 26 to appeal the ruling and push for protections for tenants behind on rent.

  • Jen Kwart, director of communications and media relations for City Attorney David Chiu, tells Axios the office is still reviewing the decision and "evaluating any next steps."
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