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.