San Francisco Requires a Written Notice to Cure Before Serving a Notice to Vacate For Certain “Just Cause” Reasons
On February 11, 2022, San Francisco amended Section 37.9 of its Administrative Code to require landlords pursuing certain types of evictions to provide their tenants written notice and an opportunity to cure before serving a notice to vacate. The new legislation (Ordinance 18-22) is effective March 14, 2022.
The requirement applies to evictions based on, among other grounds, the following:
- Breach of any other obligation of the lease/rental agreement;
- Nuisance or interference with the comfort, safety and enjoyment of landlord or tenants;
- Waste or damage to the premises;
- Illegal activity;
- The tenant, who had an oral or written agreement with the landlord which has terminated, has refused after written request or demand by the landlord to execute a written extension or renewal thereof for a further term of like duration and under such terms which are materially the same as in the previous agreement; and
- The tenant has, after written notice to cease, refused the landlord access to the rental unit as required by State or local law.
Before serving a tenant with a notice to vacate for any of the foregoing reasons, the landlord must first provide the tenant a written warning and an opportunity to cure that describes the alleged violation and informs the tenant that a failure to correct such violation within ten (10) days may result in the initiation of eviction proceedings. This means that landlord may not serve a tenant with a just cause eviction notice until the landlord has first served the required warning notice and the tenant fails to comply within ten (10) days. The law requires the Rent Board to prepare a form that landlords may use for this purpose.
This new requirement does not apply if a longer notice and cure period applies (for example, under the terms of the lease agreement between the parties), or if the landlord is seeking to recover possession based on the tenant causing or creating an imminent risk of physical harm to persons or property; or if the landlord is seeking to recover possession based on the non-payment of rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant under the tenancy that came due between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022.
NOTE: Originally, this law required landlords to serve a 10-day notice to cure before serving a notice to pay rent or quit. However, the Superior Court for the City and County of San Francisco held that the requirement to serve a 10-day notice to cure is preempted by state law as to notices for non-payment of rent only, and enjoined the City and County of San Francisco from enforcing the requirement as to notices for non-payment of rent. (See, San Francisco Apartment Association et al. v. City and County of San Francisco (2022) San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CPF-22-517718)
For further information, please contact us at (949) 748-3600.
The law firm of Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP represents landlords, property management companies, institutional and private lenders, employers and insurance companies throughout the State of California in real estate, business and employment litigation. The information provided herein is for general interest only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice. The law may have changed since this article was posted. Before acting, landlords should seek legal advice.