With the Coronavirus outbreak and the disease it causes – COVID 19 – rapidly spreading across San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, many local government officials have announced recommendations to reduce the spread and prevent person to person transmission. These measures range from small, such as frequent hand washing, to colossal, including urging the cancelation of upcoming professional sporting games and the cancelation of the historic San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  With Corona-panic impacting tourism and the local economy, many Bay Area tenants are at risk of significant financial strain resulting from loss of income.  In response, San Francisco District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston announced on Friday plans to introduce legislation to ban evictions of tenants affect by Coronavirus and loss of income associated with the Coronavirus.

How Will the Proposed Coronavirus Tenant Protections Help San Francisco Tenants?

Although the text of the proposed Coronavirus legislation has not been made public, the law will prevent landlords from evicting San Francisco tenants based on loss of income associated with COVID-19.  Specifically, the ordinance would protect San Francisco tenants who are unable to pay rent due to coronavirus or for following government-recommended health precautions.  Please check our blog later for more information, as we will update it as the story develops.

What Other Bay Area Cities Are Passing Coronavirus Tenant Protections?

On Friday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also proposed a temporary thirty-day moratorium on evictions of tenants who have suffered wage loss after missing work due to COVID-19. San Jose tenants will also likely soon have Coronavirus tenant protections.  The proposed law heads to the City Council on Tuesday.

What Steps can San Francisco Tenants who Suffer Loss of Income Related to Coronavirus Take to Prevent Eviction?

San Francisco tenants who suffer loss of income due to Coronavirus should, in writing, relate any loss of income or loss of work to Coronavirus.  Request that your supervisor or human resources department furnish a note indicating that you have lost work or income due to the Coronavirus.  Further, saving any company memos or notices indicating that shift cancelations due to Coronavirus have or will occur.  Finally, if you work for a major employer that has received press coverage related to Coronavirus store or operations closures, save copies of any articles.  Obtaining at least one of the above mentioned items will help protection you from an eviction.

Please note that San Francisco tenants are not yet protected from evictions arising out of loss of income due to the Coronavirus.  This event is developing, and Astanehe Law will update accordingly.

After the passage of this law, should you receive an eviction, also known as an unlawful detainer, please either contact Astanehe Law or take your eviction paperwork to the Eviction Defense Center.  Now, every San Francisco tenant has a right to counsel for evictions.  EDC may be able to provide no-cost eviction defense representation.

If you are a San Francisco tenant with questions about your rights under the likely prospective San Francisco Coronavirus eviction moratorium or have questions about the San Francisco Rent Ordinance, California Rent Control (AB 1482), contact Astanehe Law to speak with a tenant attorney.