How Will San Francisco’s Tenant Right to Counsel Legislation Work in Practice? 

February 20, 2019 

By Tenant Law Group, PC  

When Proposition F was passed in June of 2018, San Francisco became the first city in California and the second in the United States (after New York) to make legal counsel a right for tenants facing eviction. Now, steps are being taken to put it into practice. 

Although the law is supposed to protect tenants against wrongful evictions, those who are unable to afford an attorney struggle to protect themselves in a system that favors landlords who can pay for representation. The new legislation levels the playing field by providing an attorney to renters facing eviction regardless of age, source of income, medical status, or amount of time they have lived in San Francisco. 

The measure received $5.8 million in funding, including $1.9 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year and $3.9 million in 2019-2020. A statement from the mayor’s office in November indicated that the program was expected to start immediately, with full implementation anticipated for July 2019. 

The funding will be divided into eleven groups, including the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC), Open Door Legal, Bay Area Legal Aid, and the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. The executive director for the EDC, which received $2.9 million, said that her organization is putting together a centralized system to manage eviction cases and send them to partners while the Justice & Diversity Center already has a new eviction-defense staff attorney and paralegal. 

The previous eviction defense system relied on a limited number of pro-bono attorneys working with various San Francisco tenants rights groups, forcing an estimated eighty percent of tenants to face eviction proceedings without legal counsel. Evictions account for seventeen percent of individuals experiencing homelessness in the city, so the mayor described access to legal defense services as one of the most important means of preventing displacement. 

Tenants facing eviction can contact one of the eleven organizations receiving legal defense funding or reach out directly to a San Francisco tenant’s rights attorney who can provide them with the best advice for their tenancy situation. 

Contact a Bay Area Eviction Defense Attorney 

At Tenant Law Group, we provide experienced and results-proven eviction defense services for tenants throughout the Bay Area. If your landlord targets you for an unfair eviction, we will see to it that your rights are upheld and your best interests are being protected. Let us work diligently to get you the best results: contact Tenant Law Group for a complimentary case evaluation today.