San Francisco supervisor wants to give renters facing eviction a 10-day grace period

San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston will propose legislation during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting that would require landlords to provide a ten-day notice to tenants prior to filing an eviction notice -- allowing tenants an extra chance to stay in their homes.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, landlords seeking to evict a tenant could typically file a three-day eviction notice before eviction proceedings begin.

However, since the pandemic, California state law has added a new 15-day requirement for landlords to notify tenants of eviction due to nonpayment of rent.

The recent state law is aimed at giving tenants more time to access funds through rent relief programs.

According to Preston, his proposed legislation would ensure that similar protections for tenants facing eviction remain in place well after the pandemic-related protections expire.

"This law would create a warning period," Preston said during a phone interview on Monday. "What we're doing with this legislation is making it so that the protections aren't just during the pandemic, but permanent. We should be giving people options instead of eviction."

According to Preston, a former tenant rights attorney, evictions can make it difficult for tenants to find future housing and can even take a toll on people's physical and mental health, putting them at higher risk for displacement or homelessness.

"The broader context here is that California is pretty harsh on this issue of nonpayment of rent," Preston said. "On the fourth day -- that's it. Even if the tenant comes up with the money, they still can be evicted from their homes."

Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco Executive Director Fred Sherburn-Zimmer said, "Tenants getting more time to correct issues means tenants get to stay in their homes."

"People should have the time to resolve disputes before landlords turn to eviction," Eviction Defense Collaborative Director of Litigation and Policy Ora Prochovnick said in a statement. "This law is a game-changer. It will help save thousands of San Franciscans who would otherwise lose their homes."

If ultimately approved by the city's Board of Supervisors and subsequently signed into law by Mayor London Breed, the legislation would make San Francisco the first city in the state to create such an eviction warning period.

Back in October, just after California's eviction moratorium that had been in place during the pandemic expired and left hundreds of thousands of tenants across the state who couldn't pay their rent vulnerable to losing their homes. In response, Preston declared his district an "Eviction Free Zone," encouraging tenants to apply for government rent relief funds, seek legal representation, and to be educated on local anti-eviction protections, among other efforts.

Preston's district includes neighborhoods like Hayes Valley, the Fillmore, Japantown, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Cole Valley, and Inner Sunset.