SFAA and SPOSFI Defeat San Francisco “Ten Day Cure” Prerequisite to “Three Day Notice To Pay Rent or Quit”

In February of 2022, San Francisco passed Ordinance 18-22, which required landlords to first serve a “ten day notice to cure” (before serving the requisite state law eviction notice) to avail themselves of the unlawful detainer statutes in fault-based evictions.

Case law has asserted the primacy of state eviction procedure over local law to the contrary, while local law has been able to infiltrate procedure if it’s merely incidental to timing.

The San Francisco Apartment Association and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco challenged the ten-day ordinance on the basis of state law preemption, and in particular that a landlord cannot be permitted to wait ten days before serving the three day notice to pay rent or quit (rent being the basic bargain of the tenancy – what the tenant exchanges for occupancy). (The petition for writ of mandate can be found here.)

The Real Property Department of the San Francisco Superior Court granted the petition in part. It agreed that the City could not interfere with the state law procedures for recovering rent or possession of a rental unit. As to other bases for eviction, the Court found itself bound by Rental Housing Ass’n of N. Alameda Cty. v. City of Oakland (2009) 171 Cal. App. 4th 741, which upheld (without much analysis) the authority of Oakland to require a seven day cure period before enforcing certain violations. Whether this too is susceptible to challenge will be up to the Court of Appeal.


Supervisor Ronen Promises New Regulation To Penalize Excessive Rent Increases in Deregulated Rental Units

The SF Chronicle reports that Supervisor seeks to introduce an amendment to the Rent Ordinance that will add to the definition of “tenant harassment” an “excessive rent increase” that is intended to “defraud, intimidate or coerce the tenant into vacating” a rental unit. The proposed legislation would make it “unlawful for a landlord to endeavor to recover possession of a rental unit . . . by means of a rent increase that is imposed in bad faith with an intent to defraud, intimidate, or coerce the tenant into vacating the rental unit in circumvention [San Francisco’s eviction control laws].”

The proposed legislation would address the part of the “venn diagram” of tenant protection law where single family homes are subject to eviction control (if they are built before June 13, 1979) but are exempt from rent control if the tenancy commenced after 1995 (under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act). The logic of this law is that landlords can increase rents in these units without local restriction, but if they increase rents with the intention of causing their tenants to vacate, then the “real” purpose is to avoid eviction controls, not to get market rate rent.
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Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay Retires After Nearly 40 Years on the Bench

The Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, announced today that the Honorable Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay has retired, after serving nearly 40 years on the bench. Most recently, Judge Quidachay sat as the long-serving judge of San Francisco’s Housing Court (“Department 501”), initially designated as the unlawful detainer law and motion department, but eventually expanding to encompass all real property issues. After retiring on June 27, 2018, he was immediately sworn in as a “visiting judge” to resume his law and motion duties as his successor assumes the law and motion department. He is “survived by” his capable staff research attorney, Olga Grecova.