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End of the Eviction Moratorium
On July 1st, 2021 the current moratoriums on evictions are set to expire. Certain protections will be extended, however. Tenants cannot be evicted for rent that was due between March 1, 2020, and August 30, 2020, as this rent will be converted to consumer debt. If a tenant owes back rent due to financial hardship caused by COVID, and is able to pay 25% of their back rent from September 1, 2020, through June 31, 2021 by July 1st, they will be protected from eviction. The remaining debt will be converted into consumer debt.
If your landlord attempts to evict you despite these protections, Open Door Legal can defend you. Note: if you are served with a summons and complaint, you should seek out help immediately, as you only have 5 business days to file an answer.
Statewide Eviction Protections
California recently extended statewide eviction protections through September 30, 2021 for tenants who cannot pay rent due to financial hardships caused by COVID-19. This means that qualifying tenants cannot be evicted until at least October 1, 2021. Qualifying tenants cannot be evicted for rent that was due between March 1, 2020, and August 30, 2020, as this rent will be converted to consumer debt. Qualifying tenants cannot be evicted for rent that was due between September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, so long as they pay at least 25% of this rent by October 1, 2021, and the remaining rent will be converted into consumer debt. Consumer debt means that you still owe any unpaid rent to your landlord, even if you cannot be evicted for it.
To qualify for these protections, you need to provide your landlord with a Declaration of COVID-19-Related Financial Distress in response to a notice to pay rent or quit.
If your landlord attempts to evict you despite these protections, Open Door Legal can defend you. Note: if you are served with a summons and complaint, you should seek legal help immediately, as you only have 5 business days to file an answer.
Rental assistance is available for those who owe back rent due to COVID. San Francisco residents have access to both the California statewide program and a San Francisco specific program. With the recent passage of state law AB 832, eligible households approved for the California program can receive up to 100% of unpaid rent accumulated from April 2020 onward. AB 832 also approved funding for 100% of prospective monthly rent while eviction protections are in place and while funding is still available. San Francisco’s rental assistance program can cover rent for up to 6 months for the months of April 2021 onward, but is being prioritized for certain populations.
Open Door Legal is also offering drop-in hours to assist with completing the state and local applications during the following times:
Excelsior – Tues 10-12pm (Cantonese, Spanish)
Bayview – Weds 1-3pm (Spanish)
Western Addition – Thurs 10-12pm
You need to bring in the following items to complete your application:
- Identification documents for all household members over 18
- Income information for all members over 18
- Proof of residence
- Proof of rent owed or utilities owed
- Proof of loss of income (ex. Covid declaration, job loss letter, filing/receipt of UI
Note: Documentation isn’t required to apply for the local program, but will be required later if your application is approved for assistance.
The following organizations also provide assistance for both state and local applications:
- Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinese)
- Location: Chinatown CDC, 663 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
- 415-984-2730. Leave your name, phone number and a counselor will return your call. Drop-in clinic Mondays from 2-4pm & Thursdays 10:30am-2:30pm
- Mission Economic Development Agency/MEDA (Spanish)
- MEDA’s COVID-19 Community Intake Line: (415) 612-2014 x 2 – Applying for affordable housing
Consumer Defense & Small Claims
If your outstanding back rent has been converted into consumer debt, your landlord may still attempt to collect it by suing you. If the total owed is below $10,000, you may be sued in small claims court, which has simplified procedures. If the total owed is above $10,000, you may be sued in civil court. If you are sued, Open Door Legal may be able to defend you.
If you are behind in your mortgage or HOA dues in an owner-occupied home due to the pandemic, limited relief may be available. The San Francisco Housing Development can help you apply for programs that may pay any of your past due balances. Long-term residents of D10 may also be eligible for increased assistance. To talk to SFHDC financial empowerment counselor, call (415) 822-1022 and leave your name, best phone contact number, and email address and someone will get back to you within 24 hours to have you fill out an intake. You can also email email@example.com and write your name, your issue, and best phone contact number. All services with SFHDC are online at this time, but if you need help accessing a computer Open Door Legal can help.
Your bank may begin the foreclosure process as soon as July and may conclude a sale as soon as October. You can lose all your equity in a foreclosure sale, so it is imperative that you seek out help as soon as possible. If your home has already been sold, Open Door Legal may be able to file a wrongful foreclosure suit on your behalf.
In the end, if you are unable to pay back rent or past due mortgages, bankruptcy may be a good option. Bankruptcy can eliminate your debts while preserving your housing, but it also harms your credit score. With counseling, however, your credit can be rehabilitated within two years. Open Door Legal may be able to file bankruptcy on your behalf or refer you to a bankruptcy attorney.
*Please note: The following information is not legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and Open Door Legal.