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APRIL 2021

Covid-19: Resources for Navigating the Outbreak

COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program to Open for Applications on 3/15/21

However, some cities (San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose) have opted to implement their own programs.

Because of this, funds will not be immediately available for landlords or tenants in these cities until the cities have worked out agreements with the State of California. We expect this to occur in the coming weeks.

Owners of San Francisco rental property are encouraged to apply on behalf of their tenants on 3/15/21, despite this delay.

Applications on behalf of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose tenants will begin to be processed once these cities have reached agreement with the state of California. Applications with low income tenants with large amounts of rental debt will be prioritized.

Funds designated for use in San Francisco will be reserved for San Francisco applicants, and will not be exhausted.

Applications MUST include a tenant signature in order to be deemed complete (and in order to receive funding)


Under Senate Bill 91 (SB-91), the State of California will provide up to $2.6 billion in emergency rental assistance to California households and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible households and landlords may receive assistance with arrears and/or prospective rent and utility bills. San Francisco's allotment of this funding is approximately $26 Million.

Landlords who participate in the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program can get reimbursed for 80% of an eligible tenant’s unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent during that specific time period. The funding will be paid directly to the landlord. In exchange, by participating in the program, the landlord agrees to waive all other outstanding debt.

SFAA and CAA recommend that all landlords participate in the program, and begin the application process on 3/15/21 on behalf of their tenant(s). This is because eligible tenants whose landlords choose not to participate in the program may still apply on their own and will receive just 25% of unpaid rent between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. If the landlord chooses not to participate, the funding will be paid directly to the tenant instead of the landlord.

Once an application has been successfully initiated by either party, both the landlord and tenant will be notified about the application status. Because the application needs information from both the landlord and the tenant, it's important that you work together to complete your application once it has been initiated.

The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is not on a first come, first served basis. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis. For all applications received, the state will first review and commit funds to applicants who are eligible and meet the priority requirement having income at or below 50% of area median income (AMI) to ensure those most in need receive assistance.

For this reason, it makes sense for you to prioritize applying for your low-income tenants' who owe the largest amount of rent. This will match the state's funding prioritization.

Click Here To Receive Email Alerts From The California Emergency Rent Relief Program

Eligibility and Requirements

In order to be eligible, landlords must have one or more eligible tenants (tenants making under 80% Area Median Income) who have missed rent payments from 3/1/20-3/30/21. Landlords must also agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent for that specific time period. Only current, residential tenants are eligible under the program.

Requirements for Participation
All payments must be used to satisfy the tenant's unpaid rent for the period between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Your tenants MUST take steps to verify that they meet eligibility requirement and MUST sign the application. If your tenants do not sign the application, it will be deemed incomplete and you will not receive any funding. Your tenant will be notified when you submit your application.

Your tenant's household income must be at or below 80% AMI. Because your application requires your tenants' participation, you might give them a heads' up that you are submitting an application on their behalf, and that the purpose of the application is to erase or minimize their accrued rental debt

What Landlords Can Do to Prepare Before 3/15/21

Before applying, assemble key documents:


  • IRS W-9 Form
  • Contact Information for your Tenant(s)
  • To verify Residence (need one of the following):
  • Lease Agreement
  • State issued program ID with license
  • Official letter from third party shoing name and address
  • Government issued library card
  • Utility statements from provider
  • To verify Ownership (need one of the following):
  • Property deeds
  • Mortgage note
  • property tax forms
  • Homeowner insurance
  • To verify Rent Owed (need one of the following):
  • A current lease signed by the applicant and the landlord or sublessor that identifies the unit where the applicant resides and establishes the rental payment amount
  • In the absence of a signed lease, evidence of the amount of a rental payment may include:
  • Bank statements
  • check stubs or other documentation which reasonably establishes a pattern of paying rent
  • Written attestation by a landlord who can be verified as the legitimate owner or management of a unit


The application process is designed to be flexible. 

Landlords or tenants who are missing any of the above documents can work with a case manager or a local outreach partner to find alternatives.

Resources for Landlords and Property Managers

Applications for rent relief can be submitted beginning on 3/15/21 at Applications can be submitted by the owner of the property, an authorized agent or property manager, or the tenant. The site will likely experience high-volume traffic on 3/15/21, so you may need to keep trying. is also the state's homepage for the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, and includes a number of other resources and guidelines for tenants, landlords, homeowners, community partners, and local governments.

CA Rent Relief Outreach Material

The California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency will administer the program.

Additionally, you can visit CAA's homepage on SB 91 and the Rental Assistance Program here.

CAA Industry Insight: California Rental Assistance Program

FAQ: California Rental Assistance Program

These resources are free for SFAA and CAA members, although you will likely need to log-in to the CAA website.

Stay tuned for more information and further updates

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SFAA Virtual Monthly Member Meeting

Wednesday May 19th, 2021

City Agency Update by Department of Building Inspection - DBI, SF Public Utilities Commission - SFPUC & Recology

Jeff Buckley, Policy and Public Affairs Director, with DBI will provide members with an update on the Code Enforcement Outreach Program (CEOP,) Accessory Dwelling Units, and an overview of the permitting process.

Deborah Chilvers, Conservation Program Manager with SFPUC will provide members with an update on our water supply and how owners and tenants can conserve for the upcoming drought.

Stefanie Medious, Waste Zero Outreach & Education Manager with Recology will share best practices, new tips and resources for property managers to increase recycle and compost participation with their residents. 

The meeting will kick off as always with SFAA’s free Legal Panel.

Legal Q & A Guest Panel:

Moderator: Dave Wasserman
Frank Kim, Eviction Assistance
Laura Campbell, Kaufman Dolowich Voluck
Michael McLaughlin, McLaughlin Sanchez LLP

Please submit your Legal Q & A questions by Monday, May 10th, by 4pm to Maria Shea.

In order to view our virtual member meeting, please log in to the SFAA website on May 19th. When logging into the site, you will need your username and your password. 

Example: Username: 1234 

Example Password: 94102sfaa 

We look forward to presenting our pre-recorded Membership Meeting on Wednesday, May 19th. Watch your inbox for the link!

Thank you to LIVABLE for sponsoring our May Member Meeting.