Photo: Christopher Michel via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The San Francisco Apartment Association, San Francisco Association of Realtors, Coalition for Better Housing and Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute have filed suit seeking a temporary restraining order to stop implementation of The COVID-19 Tenant Protection Ordinance.

 

The Ordinance prevents landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent due to hardships caused by the coronavirus. It does not forgive the rent owed, but landlords will be forced to try and recoup back rent through the courts, and inefficient and ineffective process.

We share the concern that by removing the option to evict for non-payment, the Ordinance puts small landlords in a very difficult position. Some of them have also lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and have their own mortgages, taxes, and maintenance costs to pay. For many of these people the rent they receive is a significant part of their retirement income. None of them want to evict an otherwise good tenant, but the fact remains, the threat of eviction is the most effective means of enforcing collection.

By allowing non-paying tenants to remain, as the Ordinance states, until at least September but possibly even beyond, could put mom-and-pop landlords themselves into precarious financial states, even to the point of potentially losing their properties. While we understand the need to be flexible during this crisis, this kind of outcome is unacceptable for us and our clients.

Gaetani is the longest-running, family-owned property management company in the Bay Area, with deep expertise in local laws and ordinances. We will, through our active involvement with the various landlord associations, continue to work with City Hall to identify and implement policies that more equally balance the interests and needs of renters and renter housing providers.