San Francisco’s Eviction Moratorium to Remain in Place as COVID-19 Emergency Orders Expire

As Covid emergency regulations are being phased out, most mask mandates are coming to an end. However, there is one significant protection that remains in effect: the city’s eviction moratorium, which prohibits evictions due to pandemic-related financial struggles and health issues.

The Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance last year that offers permanent protection to tenants against eviction for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic period between July 1, 2022, and the end of the emergency proclamation, which has been in effect since February 2020, as declared by Mayor London Breed.

Under this legislation, landlords are not allowed to impose late fees, penalties, or any comparable charges on tenants who are unable to pay their rent post-July 2022 due to Covid.

Despite the majority of the pandemic-related directives from the mayor and public health officials being rescinded or discontinued, the city is still under a state of emergency declared by the mayor.

Although the exact timeline for the conclusion of the local emergency proclamation is uncertain, its duration is critical for the city to receive federal reimbursement for Covid relief. However, there is a probable deadline of May 11, coinciding with the Biden administration’s decision to end the federal state of emergency.

San Francisco Wind Down Period

According to Kyle Smeallie, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Dean Preston, who proposed the eviction moratorium ordinance, their office is actively developing legislative measures to establish a “wind-down period” for tenants who may face eviction even after the end of the proclamation.

The wind-down period under consideration could resemble that of Alameda County’s Covid eviction moratorium, which grants a 60-day transitional period following the conclusion of the emergency declaration. In certain cities, local governments have chosen to extend this period further.

For example, Berkeley decided earlier in the week to prolong its moratorium until the end of August. Activists are advocating for comparable extensions in Hayward and San Leandro.

Certain property owners have criticized local eviction moratoriums, arguing that tenants have exploited the safeguards, leading to financial difficulties for landlords. Some owners have even resorted to extreme actions, such as hunger strikes, to draw attention to their concerns.