Tenants rights advocates elated after board approves "Eviction Protection 2.0". Photo by Julian Mark

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve new tenant protections that will make it more difficult for landlords to evict tenants for nuisance offenses or hike rents after certain types of evictions.

“We won a victory today for all San Franciscans who care about affordability,” Supervisor Kim said after the legislation passed. “We know from the Housing Balance report published in July 2015, that we are running in place when it comes to affordable housing.”

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim and backed by Supervisors John Avalos, Eric Mar, and David Campos, has been dubbed “Tenant Protection 2.0” or “Eviction Protection 2.0.”

Landlords would be unable to evict tenants for adding roommates up to what’s allowed in the housing code, nuisance violations like hanging laundry or leaving strollers in the hallway, or living in illegal units without a “reasonable justification” for the eviction.

“Landlords would have to come up with a reasonable justification,” explained Ivy Lee, an aide to Supervisor Kim. “If that [justification] becomes an issue, the Rent Board would adjudicate. For example, if [the landlord] says ‘You always pay rent late, I let it go, but now that you have an official roommate I just don’t trust that you’ll be able to manage.’”

A limit on the number of roommates in a lease would not be grounds for eviction, for instance, nor would any “petty offense” like hanging laundry unless that offense continues past the point the landlord says it’s an issue. Additionally, tenants can be evicted from illegal units, like non-residential in-law units, if that unit cannot be brought up to code or the landlord chooses not to do so.

“We don’t want anyone living in some place that, for health and safety reasons, is dangerous,” Lee explained.

Landlords are also prohibited from raising rent for five years following a no-fault eviction of a tenant, a provision aimed at preventing property flipping.

“Let’s say you pursue an owner move in eviction,” explained Lee. “As long as your family member lives there for five years—fine. After five years, if they move out, you can charge market rate. But if they move out after only 6 months or a year, you have to protect rent control.”

“If you’re a landlord that’s not trying to cheat the system, it’s not going to impact you,” she added.

An additional provision to the legislation requires landlords to provide multilingual information about where tenants can seek assistance in the event of an eviction.

“As we saw a spike in the housing crisis, we also saw more and more pieces of rent ordinance where holes were being exploited,” said Maria Zamudio of Causa Justa::Just Cause, a tenants’ rights organization. “This is our first step into closing those loopholes.”

“This isn’t the end all be all, many things still need to happen,” she added. “But it is an important first step to being able to really solve this housing crisis.”

The ordinance was passed to the cheers and applause of tenants-rights advocates in attendance, but not before the Board quibbled on a provision of the legislation that allows tenants to add an unlimited number of occupants to their units up to housing codes.

“I worry about this particular provision. Even myself as a tenant in a rent controlled building, I find this provision very troubling,” Supervisor Katy Tang told the board, explaining that she’d be worried about what effect additional tenants would have on “our communal resources” and tenants living in her building that aren’t written into the lease.

“I’m am very troubled by the discussion that would actually remove this section,” Sup. David Campos, who voted in favor of the provision, said. “The fact is so many people can live in San Francisco is because they have a lot of people living in an apartment.”

The Board passed the provision in the legislation 7-4, leaving housing activists relieved by the overall victory.

“Now that Eviction Protection 2.0 is passed we have more tools to be able to cure minor violations and protect people staying in their homes long term,” Zamudio said. “This is an important step toward housing stability for all the San Franciscans.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. To the pro-communist above (Vanessa Norton): you have no idea what you are talking about. As opposed to you I lived under REAL communism and it was miserable living. Those communists and these (i.e. in SF) have one thing in common: a desire to ban economics and human nature. Good luck!

  2. 19 out of 20 scientists agree that making rent control law more stringent will tend to increase the price of vacant rental units. Ignoring the consensus of scientists doesn’t fix global climate change, why should it work to fix San Francisco’s broken rental market?

  3. I wish this law were borderline Communist. How about a law where rent is based on the average income of a neighborhood, instead of an abstract “market,” driven exclusively by profit? I don’t understand why on earth we accept this as normal when in fact it is crazy.

    Packing people into apartments, whether or not the master tenant is profiting or paying significantly less, is a symptom of the lack of affordable housing. Attacking these practices is misdirected. Attack the real problem.

    I came here years ago to make art. I’ve taught ESL in underserved communities, volunteered at SFGH, and have a business supporting women through reproductive choices. When I was evicted in July from a 17 years running artist space, I was shocked by how vulnerable it left me. I can not imagine experiencing this as an elderly person, or as a parent, or as someone with fewer resources.

    If rents were affordable, this city would have an edge and a soul, as it did before the dot com and tech booms. And it would be home to public school teachers, parents with time to spend with their kids, and neighbors involved in their communities. Now it’s a monotonous boutique catering to self-involved suburbanites with nothing to offer but money.

    I am glad that Eviction Protection 2.0 passed, but it doesn’t go far enough.

  4. This will just lead to more Tech hostels with bunches of 20 somethings living in bunkbeds. People that are the master tenant now have an income source as they can add unlimited roommates and the landlord can’t do anything. Buildings will be overcrowded leading to fire hazards and other issues.

    The city once again wants to take control of private property. This law is borderline communist and will backfire bigtime. The city won’t change this until there is a major tragedy like a fire in an overcrowded building in which they are sued for wrongful death because they set up a dangerous situation.

  5. There was originally another provision as part of this package around not evicting people based on the unit not being legal. Any idea what happened to that part of the package? I can’t find the info anywhere.

  6. “This is an important step toward housing stability for all the San Franciscans.” Such a lie. Tell that to the individuals trying to move here who can’t find affordable housing because the SF Board of Stupidvisors continues to keep housing supply in a chokehold.

    1. This decision in no way reduces affordable housing for newcomers. Landlords don’t charge “affordable” rates to new tenants when they evict someone or when someone moves out. They charge “market rate.” If you want more affordable housing support Prop I.

      1. Do you mean NO on Proposition I? Because proposition I actually calls for the Mission to STOP building more housing,,, From the ballot initiative: “18-month prohibition on the construction of any housing project larger than five units,”

        It will put a halt to the construction of at least 1500 units, including more than 200 affordable units, so it certainly won’t provide more affordable housing. Not only that, the government report about it’s impact shows no impact on housing costs in the long run, and in fact, it will lead to HIGHER rents in the short term.

        In what economic theory will restricting the building of additional housing decrease housing cost or increase housing supply? It’s progressive madness.

        1. In the report released by the city’s Controller’s Office, the city’s chief economist shows Prop I would increase housing costs, fail to prevent displacements and broadly, not help to address the city’s affordable housing challenge. It is clear that Prop I will only make San Francisco’s housing situation worse—not better.

          Here is a link to the actual report from SF Controller’s office:


    2. I have rc tenants in my bldg, they have used the unit to rent to others as “storage”. They pay very low rent and make money frome my bldg. I am Hispanic, disabled, and have been cheated by these tenants. Not just lanlords are cheaters! Many tenants on my street charge double to other sub renters, thus making money under the rent control laws. The squalor, mice, rats, and extra garbage collection costs is not taken into consideration. The tenants do not even live there! They own a home in Daly City. Under the RC laws you can own a home, get a f ree attorney, and commit fraud with out fear o repercussion! Thanks David Campos!