Effective January 20, 2020, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance’s newest amendment extends just cause for eviction protections, and other tenant protection laws, to San Francisco tenants in units previously exempt from the rent ordinance that were built after June 13, 1979, or underwent a substantial rehabilitation. San Francisco Administrative Code § 37.

Due to an unfortunate state law known as Costa-Hawkins, the amendment does not alter these units exemption from the rent control component of the San Francisco Rent Ordinance.  California Civil Code § 1954.52(a).

Previously, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, which has two principal components limiting rent increases and requiring just cause for eviction for covered units, exempted units constructed after June 13, 1979, and units that underwent a recent substantial rehabilitation.  Effective January 20, 2020, San Francisco tenants in units built after June 13, 1979, or that have undergone a substantial rehabilitation are protected by just cause for eviction.  With its stronger eviction protections and higher relocation payments, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors intended to strengthen the San Francisco Rent Ordinance in response to the passage of California Rent Control, which defers to local rent ordinances.

Additionally, the amendments were necessary to combat the sharp rise in eviction notices triggered by the passage of California Rent Control.

Now, all but one San Francisco tenant law protects nearly every San Francisco tenant.  San Francisco’s just cause for eviction protection law and tenant protection act protect most San Francisco tenants. However, as stated above, rent control still does not apply to tenants in buildings built after June 13, 1979.