As we outlined last month:

The temporary moratorium on the eviction of tenants in San Francisco for the non-payment of rent from April through July, if formally documented as being due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has effectively been made permanent by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

While the ordinance does not forgive any past due rents, nor prohibit a landlord from seeking to collect once the moratorium period has ended, it does remove the threat of eviction due to unpaid rents accumulated during the pandemic and prohibits the charging of any associated late fees and/or interest.

At the same time, the legislation establishes the framework for a relief fund to compensate (qualified) landlords who are unable to collect.

And this morning, Mayor London Breed inked an executive order extending the moratorium period through August 31, 2020.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Former SFLandlord

    They’ll keep kicking this can down the road as long as they can. In the meantime landlords pony up for their tenants or fall behind on their mortgage.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yeah, how tough to own real property that continues to have 7 or 8 digit value, as compared to renters who can’t even pull together enough money to pay the monthly rent.

      • Posted by Kyle S.

        Value ≠ cash flow. That very valuable property will be repossessed if the owner can’t make their monthly mortgage payments. Small-time landlords are significantly exposed to bankruptcy due to cash flow interruption, since they don’t have the pull to negotiate forbearances with their banks to the same extent that large national landlords do. And if nobody’s buying, they’re not able to pick and choose properties to liquidate to stave off creditors.

        Of course, lots of people are susceptible to bankruptcy due to _other_ debts. But housing is actually one of the things that is less likely to cause a renter to go bankrupt than a small-time landlord.

  2. Posted by Mike L

    I don’t see this Moratorium going away anytime soon. Tough time for landlords.

    • Posted by Dave

      ITA. My rental properties are in other states and the moratoriums for non-payment of rent have been lifted. Fortunately all of my tenants were able to continue to pay rents during the moratorium period. Coming off the moratoriums being extended in SF and likely other parts of California, I expect a renewed push for statewide rent control. Its a perfect storm for tenant advocates. As to small Mom and Pop landlords – think about exchanging your rentals out of California. The landlord/tenant relationship in SF and generally California is adversarial – this is not the case in many other states.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        I’m in the same boat as Dave, with all my rental properties (save for one SF unit) in other states where landlord-tenant dynamics are much more balanced. I think SF (and, increasingly, California as a whole) is a terrible environment for residential rental property investment. People who invest in it here are not investing in rental property intending to eke out a profit from operations; they are market speculators hoping to make money through rapid appreciation. To me, that’s a bit more like gambling than investing; I prefer to invest in places where I have more control of the outcome, even if my investments may appreciate more slowly than here in SF.

        While I am seeing some California-style laws around no-fault evictions finding favor in new places around the country, Dave is right that conditions elsewhere are much more reasonable for small landlords. Maybe that will change over time, but it will take a long time before they become as lopsided as they are here. I wouldn’t advise anyone to buy investment property in San Francisco, unless you’re the type who views “investing” in the same way you’d view putting money down on the roulette table in Las Vegas.

        • Posted by Dave

          Exactly. I invested in rental properties in other states looking for good ROI. Not for massive appreciation. Yes, there is appreciation but it is modest and that is fine. Of course your investment dollars go much further in many other solid, growing metros. Finding a good manager is key and it can be done with a bit of due diligence. Ironically, if the move from densely packed cities to smaller cities emerges in the next few years my homes are likely to outperform SF in terms of appreciation.

    • Posted by Miraloma Man

      Hard to get too teary-eyed.

  3. Posted by R

    I’m fine with this delaying evictions for non-payment of rent, but this stupid order needs to allow evictions for nuisance behavior. I have a tenant that has been raging drunk 24/7 and harassing other tenants and I can’t do a damn thing about it. He’s been arrested and the cops have been out at least 5 times since the shelter in place started. It’s crazy that I’m powerless to fix it.

    • Posted by Mike L

      Perhaps rent “Pacific Heights” with Michael Keaton. May give you some ideas. 🙂

    • Posted by Hawkins

      It is quite revealing to me that you assume that being raging drunk has nothing to do with the pandemic.

      What is most clear to me, even if you do not see it, is that your tenant is struggling to process both our pandemic and our national discourse on the complexities of race and class and is likely turning to alcohol as a way for him to process his feelings. Instead of compassion and giving him a safe space to process and heal in his own home, you have directly endangered his life by calling the police and have viewed him as a commodity, intended to pay you capital and conform to your behavioral standards (standards which I am sure you afford yourself leeway to break – have you not had any drinks in your home since shelter in place started?). And you wonder why the city is enacting these rules in the first place!

      Check yourself, because your privilege is not only showing, it is illuminating why we need to protect tenants in this city.

      • Posted by Matt in Oakland

        “your tenant is struggling to process both our pandemic and our national discourse on the complexities of race and class and is likely turning to alcohol as a way for him to process his feelings.” This like an AI response if it learned to think from posts on Oakland’s Nextdoor.

        In a just and equitable world an abusive alcoholic would be forced to pick jail or treatment. I don’t think someone should lose their apartment… trouble homeowners aren’t forced to sell over this, so a renter shouldn’t be evicted. However, we don’t have first world healthcare, so eviction might be the only thing to protect the other tenants’ quality of life. Which does actually matter, Hawkins.

      • Posted by Kyle S.

        What about the other tenants in the building, who are dealing with the pandemic themselves? They’re now required to cope with the side effects of someone else’s response too?

        It’s one thing to cut some slack. It’s quite another to look past harassment of others to an extent that has led to five arrests.

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        “Check yourself, because your privilege is not only showing, it is illuminating why we need to protect tenants in this city.”

        Maybe it’s your skewed lens that’s showing. Speaking as the son of an alcoholic, sometimes a raging drunk is just a raging drunk. And regardless of the impetus for his behavior, he has no right to impose noise, violence and nuisance on others.

      • Posted by Some Guy

        It’s quite revealing to ME that you presume, without further evidence, that this raging drunk was a well-behaved model tenant before the pandemic came along, and that the pandemic itself pushed him/her to drink to excess and to cause serious and ongoing disturbance to many (tens? hundreds?) of other law-abiding tenants and/or residents in the vicinity.

        How do you know this person – as is more LIKELY than NOT to be the case — wasn’t a raging drunk long before the pandemic ever arrived? You don’t. So your virtue-signaling rant is completely out of line and uncalled for.

        You judge persons and situations based on all the facts surrounding them, not on your knee-jerk compassion. If you don’t have facts, you reserve judgement and remain quiet. Or at least, you ought to.

      • Posted by J

        Hell no pay your rent and I guess your one of those tenants that lives rent free. Why don’t the people who can’t afford the rent move in with family. What happened with your stimulus check and the extra $600 per week on top of your unemployment benefits. A lot of people are making more money unemployed than being employed. Smh freeloaders

        • Posted by Fishchum

          Oh, give me a break. If you’re making more an unemployment than working, then that’s an argument to raise wages, not take money from people.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      I believe you can evict for serious nuisance violations that cause harm to other neighboring tenants in your building despite the pandemic.

      Situations involving domestic violence in a household can certainly be grounds for an eviction proceeding to proceed.

      Since your drunk tenant has already been arrested and there is a police record of disturbances, perhaps a restraining order is one way to build up your eviction case. Alternatively, each of your other tenants can prepare a declaration under penalty of perjury detailing the incidents of disturbing behavior. Declarations are generally weaker than a restraining order.

      At minimum you should be able to get a behavioral stipulation as a condition to continued tenancy. Violations of the behavioral stip. results in an automatic eviction without the time and expense of further litigation or trial.

      You should discuss your specifics and the mechanics of filing an eviction based on nuisance or violence with a landlord attorney.

  4. Posted by Think it through sf

    Are the landlords able to postpone mortgage payments as well? If not, this will result in more foreclosures of small local landlords and force more housing supply into the greedy hands of out of town corporations.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      Yes, this is called “mortgage forbearance”. Banks don’t want to do foreclosures, because that negatively impacts their balance sheets.

      • Posted by Jake T

        Forbearance is not universally offered and usually is structured as a a lump sum catchup repayment at the end of the forbearance term. Hope Dean’s transfer tax landlord fund comes through – he seemed so sincere about it!

    • Posted by Tony Timpa

      Whether a dollar from a tenant is used to pay a mortgage payment or anything else should be irrelevant.

      Because one owner owes other people money doesn’t make him more deserving of rent received than one who doesn’t owe other people.

      Move out or pay rent.

  5. Posted by joe

    Hawkins, you really didn’t know that people were alcoholics before the pandemic? You don’t think people had issues before the pandemic? You don’t think people suffered before the pandemic? Maybe this guy is drinking because of the pandemic, or maybe he’s drinking because of any million reasons people drink. How can you possibly know? Imagine all the people who’ve been suffering for years because of others, and now they’re told, “chill out, it’s just the pandemic.”

  6. Posted by Anna Ng

    This will bankrupt many mom & pop owners.
    Even having forbearance on your credit disallows the ability to refi / re-structure the debt.
    And w/ many small owners having job losses in the day job they cannot refi and will loose their property which for many is their life’s work & retirement plan.

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