SFAA Government Affairs

Reminder: Informational Notice of COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act Extension and New Rental Assistance Program (Form CA-405) Must Be Provided By 2/28/21

The Informational Notice should be sent to any renter who has missed a rent payment since 3/1/20. The form MUST be provided by Feburary 28, 2021 (this Sunday). Read the instructions prior to sending the notice here. This form is also available on the SFAA website.


Rental Assistance Programs On the Way-Applications will be Accepted in Mid-March, 2021

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.
Additional details regarding eligibility are forthcoming. In the interim, federal guidelines state that eligible tenant households must have:
  • income at or below 80% of AMI,
  • experienced a decrease in income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and
  • demonstrated risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
Applications will be accepted in mid-March, 2021. Please stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime, it's a good idea to get prepared and go through your files and build a spreadsheet with all apartments who have missed rent payments since March of 2020. The rental assistance application will likely require you to provide the apartment address, the tenant's name, the tenant's estimated income, the amount of monthly rent, the amount of total rent, the number of months of rent missed and other pertinent information.


Governor Newsom Signs COVID Relief Bill with $2.6 Billion in Federal Funds for Unpaid Rent

On January 28, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will use $2.6 billion in federal funds to pay landlords up to 80% of rent owed by qualifying tenants with COVID-19 financial hardships. 

The legislation, SB 91, won overwhelming bipartisan approval in both houses of the Legislature. You can read SB 91 here.

SB 91 will use federal funds to pay up to 80% of a tenant’s back rent accumulated between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. A landlord who accepts the money will have to forgive the remaining unpaid rent for that period. If the landlord refuses this arrangement, the maximum subsidy drops to 25%.

Additional federal dollars may be available to help cover unpaid rent through June of this year.

“Getting dollars to landlords is imperative,” said Debra Carlton, the California Apartment Association’s executive vice president of state public affairs. “Many landlords have not received rent in over a year, and some owners are on the brink of losing their homes. The administration must work quickly to get the dollars to landlords at the rate promised: 80 percent of the past rent owed by the tenant.”

To qualify for the federal dollars, the unpaid rent must be owed by a tenant who earned less than 80% of the area median income in 2020 or at the time of application. According to the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, landlords and tenants would be allowed to apply for those dollars beginning in March 2021.

SB 91 also sets a Feb. 28 deadline for landlords to provide a specific informational notice to tenants who are behind on rent as of Feb. 1, 2020. Click here to access the informational notice.

The state’s distribution of federal funds to cover unpaid rent is limited by federal rules. Legislators are now considering additional state funding for rental assistance. Those dollars would go to those populations that either are not eligible or who may require additional rental support, above and beyond that which is provided here.


SB 91 replaces California’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, or AB 3088, which expires this Sunday.

Under AB 3088, COVID-19 affected tenants were given until Jan. 31, to pay 25% of back rent accrued since Sept. 1, 2020, or be subject to eviction. SB 91 extends that deadline to June 30.

In addition to providing up to 80% of back rent owed, SB 91 will provide additional dollars as an incentive to local governments that agree to follow the state rules established through SB 91. CAA argued that a consistent standard will help with compliance for both landlords and tenants. Local governments that implement their own rules for distribution of money will not receive additional dollars from the state.

Carlton said it is vital that renters understand they still must pay 25% of the rent owed by June 30, whether they pay out-of-pocket or with federal funds under SB 91. Tenants can pay the amount month-by-month or in one lump sum by the deadline. Failure to do so can lead to eviction.

“What is not covered in the legislation are those situations where the tenants do not cooperate,” she said. “The legislation does not help in those situations where the tenant has not paid, makes more than 80 percent AMI, and/or has not communicated with the landlord. We are asking the state to help owners in those situations with both policy and dollars.”

Rent Registry Legislation Approved by Board of Supervisors Despite Opposition

Last night, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the Housing Inventory/Rent Registry ordinance.

The ordinance will undergo a procedural second vote on 12/8/20.

Housing Providers will need to comply with the ordinance beginning in July of 2022.

The ordinance would require housing providers to report the following information beginning in 2022:

  • The address of each apartment
  • Contact information for building owner/manager
  • Business Registration Number, if applicable
  • Approximate Square Footage
  • Numbers of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • When the unit was last vacant
  • For vacant units, the last date of occupancy
  • For occupied units, the day the tenancy began
  • The base rent, in $250 increments
  • Any dates over the last 12 months where an occupied unit became vacant, or a vacant unit became occupied
  • Any other information the Rent Board deems appropriate.


You can read a copy of the Ordinance here

COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act

New Rules for Nonpayment of Rent Evictions

     Under the bill, renters are entitled to a 15-day notice if the landlord is seeking rent or other charges due between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021.

     If the resident returns a declaration of COVID-19 financial distress, the landlord must comply with the following:

     For the March 2020-August 2020 payments, the landlord cannot evict
     For September 2020-January 2021 payments, the landlord must allow the resident until January 31, 2021 to make a 25% payment, and can only evict if the resident fails to make that payment.


New Rules for Other Evictions 

     “Just Cause” protections are extended to all tenancies through January 31, 2021. The “Just Cause” reasons are limited to those specified in the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, with a few modifications.

Small Claims Expansion 

     All actions seeking recovery of COVID-19 rental debt (March 2020-January 2021 payments) can be brought in small claims court.

     Normal small claims limits do not apply

     No cases allowed before March 1, 2021


Limits on Local Eviction Moratoria 

     Local eviction moratoria set to expire before January 31, 2021 can remain in place until the end of their term but cannot be extended or renewed before February 1, 2021.

     Repayment periods that are set to begin prior to March 1, 2021 cannot be extended, later repayment periods must begin by March 1, 2021

     Local governments can still adopt, amend, and enforce “just cause” ordinances, but cannot create new mandates with respect to payments due between March 2020 and January 2021.

You can read more about the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (CTRA) right here.

Please visit the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act section of our Forms page to download compliant CTRA forms.


Temporary Tenant Protections Due to COVID-19 (File No. 201059)
Ordinance amending the Administrative Code to limit residential evictions through March 31, 2021, unless the eviction is based on the non-payment of rent or is necessary due to violence-related issues or health and safety issues.


Legislative Digest


Moratorium on Rent Increases Expired on 10/21/20
On April 24, 2020, the Mayor signed emergency legislation passed by the Board of Supervisors that temporarily prohibited certain rent increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium on rent increases ended on October 21, 2020.

Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (File No. 200948)
Ordinance amending the Administrative Code to require sellers of multifamily residential buildings to provide a new right of first offer and right of first refusal to qualified nonprofit organizations if a multifamily residential building is not under contract or remains unsold after one year and after each year thereafter; require sellers to provide additional disclosures to qualified nonprofit organizations; provide information to current tenants, and assist qualified nonprofits with due diligence; and allow multifamily residential buildings acquired by qualified nonprofit organizations under the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) to convert to a limited equity cooperative under Subdivision Code Division 11; and exclude from COPA land dedications to the City and County of San Francisco.


Legislative Digest


COVID-19 Rent Resolution and Relief Fund (File No. 200611)
Ordinance amending the Administrative Code to establish the COVID-19 Rent Resolution and Relief Fund, to provide financial support to landlords whose tenants have been unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Legislative Digest


Construction During COVID-19 Pandemic That Results in Temporary Suspension of Water or Electricity Service or Excessive Noise (File No. 201149)
Reenactment of emergency ordinance (Ordinance No. 154-20) temporarily prohibiting construction projects in buildings with any residential rental units that require the suspension of water or electricity service to residential tenants without providing alternative sources of water and power, or reaching agreement with tenants, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Legislative Digest


Limits on Certain Construction Noise During COVID-19 Pandemic (File No. 200914)
Emergency ordinance to impose temporary limits on construction noise inside apartment buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.


Legislative Digest


SFAA Political Action Committee and Legal Fund
SFAA’s Political Action Committee works to support and recommend local candidates and ballot measures to foster a friendlier environment for rental housing providers. SFAA’s Legal Fund is used to litigate against laws that have passed at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that infringe upon the rights of property owners.


The Code Enforcement Outreach Program (CEOP) is an innovative program designed to improve communication and cooperation between tenants and rental property owners. CEOP is a joint project of the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), SFAA and tenant organizations.

The program’s goal is to get the City and the community to work together to bring housing into code compliance and to achieve the abatement of violations prior to the involvement of DBI and/or the City Attorney’s Office. This program will result in better, faster service to clients and save funds that the Department can use on other enforcement services and programs. CEOP can save property owners money before fines are assessed and attorney fees are necessary.

Community outreach coordination, counseling, and mediation assistance are among the services provided by the SFAA and participating agencies.

Its services are available to all San Francisco rental property owners and tenants including those who are not members of the partner agencies.  If you are a rental property owner and would like additional information or participate in the program contact Charley at SFAA -- (415) 255-2288 or email charley@sfaa.org.

The DBI works in cooperation with these organizations:

  • Chinatown Community Development Corporation
  • Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco
  • Causa Justa:: Just Cause
  • San Francisco Apartment Association
  • Tenderloin Housing Clinic

Property Owners

The program provides support owners as they work with the DBI and tenant organizations to bring housing into code compliance. CEOP clarifies the respective rights and responsibilities or property owners and tenants to expedite code enforcement. In addition, property owners may utilize this program if they are having problems with tenants, including disputes involving access to a unit or damages.  For owners the program is able to:

  • Answer your questions about housing Code and compliance issues.
  • Provide a mentor program to counsel and help you to comply with repair requests in a timely manner
  • Mediate between you and your tenants on housing complaints.
  • For further questions about his program, call the Department of Building Inspection, Housing Inspection Services at: (415) 558-6088.


The CEOP helps tenants of rental units in the City of San Francisco obtain the repairs they need. These nonprofit Tenant's Rights Associations can assist tenants:

The Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco 

(415) 703-8644
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
(415) 487-9203

For over a decade these organizations have provided tenant's rights counseling, advocacy, and eviction prevention for all San Francisco renters. They will:

  • Answer your questions about tenant's rights regarding the Housing Code and habitability compliance.
  • Help you notify your landlord in writing about needed repairs and facilitate completion of those repairs before housing inspection services are required.
  • Act as a liaison between you and the Department of Building Inspection when you require Housing inspection services to secure needed repairs.
  • Conduct workshops to educate tenants about their role in ensuing housing code compliance in their rental units.

Good Samaritan

In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Good Samaritan legislation that was introduced by Supervisor Scott Weiner. This is a critical piece of legislation that assists low-income tenants in securing housing when their rent controlled unit has become uninhabitable due to an emergency or disaster. This program may only be used by tenants who have been living in rent controlled units, and the program is strictly voluntary. This legislation protects both the landlord and the tenants, and the rules are very straightforward.

When a tenant of a rent controlled unit is unable to occupy the unit due to a disaster such as a fire, flood, earthquake, landslide or other event, they can seek out another unit that falls under the rent control ordinance. Once a unit and new landlord have been identified, the tenant and the landlord enter into a written agreement allowing the tenant to occupy the new unit at the pre-disaster rental amount, or up to 10% more.

The initial period of time is 12 months. If the tenant is still unable to reoccupy the previous unit in that amount of time, there is an option to extend the agreement for as long as another 12 months. This extension will be at the landlord’s discretion, and once again is voluntary.

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