Attention San Francisco Renters! What the Passing of Prop F Means for You

San Francisco is the most expensive city for renters in the country. The opportunity for greater profit has motivated many unscrupulous landlords to illegally increase rents or displace tenants from rent-controlled apartments. If the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord often files a frivolous unlawful detainer lawsuit to intimidate renters who are unfamiliar with the law or the various remedies at their disposal.

Every year hundreds of San Francisco tenants attend court to fight eviction lawsuits initiated by their landlords. The city Rent Board’s annual eviction report indicates that between March 2016 and February 2017, Bay Area landlords tried to evict 1,881 renters. Many of them appeared without an attorney, which gave the landlords an advantage.

Addressing a similar situation in New York, the city’s Right to Counsel Coalition wrote that landlords succeeded in eviction cases because they had power, not because the law was on their side. Tenants who are unaware of their rights fail to provide a valid defense even when one exists. Sometimes they simply move out and risk temporary homelessness rather than try to fight a wrongful eviction.

For over a year, New York was the only city to provide legal representation to tenants in eviction cases. That changed during the recent California primary election and the passing of Proposition F. Now every San Francisco tenant facing possible eviction will have access to legal representation, making San Francisco the second city in the U.S. to provide residential tenants with the means to challenge their landlord’s actions in court.

Under the new law, the city is required to create, finance, and manage a program that makes legal counsel available to residential tenants served with notices of eviction or an upcoming lawsuit to evict them. These tenants must be provided with an attorney within 30 days, and that attorney will represent them until the notice is withdrawn or the lawsuit concludes. The Office of Housing and Community Development now has 12 months to formalize a plan to serve all of San Francisco’s residents.

If your landlord is taking steps to constructively evict you, such as refusing to make necessary repairs or correct unsafe conditions in your unit, or filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit against you for reporting their negligence to the Department of Building Inspection, contact Tenant Law Group right away. When there is no legal justification for your eviction, we will take steps to protect your rights and preserve your tenancy.

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Tenant Law Group, PC

Here at Tenant Law Group, we dedicate one hundred percent of our practice to representing Bay Area renters. Whether you have been harassed, endured uninhabitable living conditions, or lost a rent-controlled unit without legal justification, we are here to fight for you, because we know a knowledgeable and aggressive tenant lawyer can mean the difference between having a roof over one’s head and being homeless.

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