San Francisco Requires 10-Day Warning to Tenants Prior to Eviction Proceedings, and Property Owners File Suit

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass

On March 14, 2022, a new eviction ordinance took effect, amending the San Francisco Administrative Code to require that landlords provide residential tenants a 10-day written warning and opportunity to cure prior to initiating “just cause” eviction proceedings. “Just causes” for eviction include failure to pay rent, a material lease violation, severe nuisance, illegal use of the premises, and refusing certain landlord access to the premises.

Just over a week later, the San Francisco Apartment Association and Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the ordinance. The San Francisco Superior Court ordered a temporary stay on the 10-day warning notice requirement pending resolution of the lawsuit. A hearing is set for May 17, 2022.

If the ordinance is upheld, the 10-day notice must describe the alleged violation and warn that failure to cure within ten days may result in initiation of eviction proceedings. The amendment to Section 37.9 of the San Francisco Administrative Code states that the Rent Board will prepare a notice form for landlords to use.

There would be several exceptions to the 10-day notice requirement: first, any longer notice and cure period agreed to in a lease agreement or otherwise applicable would supersede the ten day notice requirement; second, the ten day notice would not apply where the landlord is seeking eviction based on an imminent risk of physical harm to persons or property; and third, the ten day notice would not apply to evictions based on non-payment of rent or other amounts that came due between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022, as those proceedings are governed by the State’s COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (SB-91) and generally require 15 days’ notice.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the local ordinance is the first in California to impose such a warning period and opportunity to resolve a dispute prior to formal eviction proceedings.  The legislation’s stated purpose is to eliminate confusion about how long a tenant’s misconduct must continue before it rises to the level of just cause to evict, and to provide a reasonable timeframe for a tenant to correct a violation, thereby reducing undue hardship suffered by tenants who face sudden evictions and promote economy in the use of judicial resources.

We will continue to provide further updates when they are available.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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