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SF Eviction Moratorium Remains In Place After Big Legal Victory

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Landlords sued San Francisco over the eviction moratorium, and landlords just lost. The San Francisco Apartment Association filed a lawsuit last week in San Francisco Superior Court, according to KQED, claiming that the eviction moratorium was unconstitutional, and hell yes they were ready to start evicting tenants during a pandemic and recession on August 1. But that’s not going to happen, as Judge Charles Haines just shot their shit down, and the eviction moratorium remains in place.

Under the San Francisco Temporary Eviction Moratorium, a landlord cannot evict a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent until February 28, 2021, and that is likely to get extended as well. Mayor Breed updated the ordinance on July 27, and she will likely continue doing so every month until we’re out of this thing, as she has each of the last four months. 

The legal decision is seen above. Judge Haines ruled that “The ordinance does not compel any uncompensated physical occupation of property,” because you do have to pay that rent eventually. 

Mayor Breed originally declared the eviction moratorium on March 23, and then the Board of Supervisors passed the COVID-19 Tenant Protections Ordinance that allows the moratorium to be extended more or less indefinitely until the pandemic is over. 

“This is a resounding victory for vulnerable tenants in San Francisco,” District 5 supervisor Dean Preston said on Twitter. “I have said from the start, we will not stand by and watch thousands of San Franciscans become homeless because of a pandemic they cannot control, and I’m proud that our legislation has been vindicated in court.”

Remember that under the eviction moratorium, you still do ultimately have to pay your back rent. To get the protections, you also have to inform your landlord in advance that you won’t be paying rent, and you have to provide documentation that you’ve lost work due to COVID-19. If this applies to you, check out our templates for writing your landlord a letter and other legal advice.

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  1. Cadence
    August 6, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    There should also be a mortgage moratorium. Because some landlords depend on rent to pay their mortgage. So the ultimate solution would be to halt both of rent and mortgage payment altogether until the pandemic ends. If this was done there wouldn’t be any issue.

  2. Alex
    August 18, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Is it up to the tenant/landlord to work out a deal for back rent? Will there be rules around that? If they have to pay current rent and back rent at the same time, will that have an affect on rent control? If tenants decide to bail after the pandemic so they don’t have to pay back rent is there any recourse for landlords?