SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance on Tuesday,Oct. 27, that provides financial support to landlords whose tenants have not paid rent because of coronavirus hardships. 

The ordinance was introduced on June 9 and it was approved unanimously. It establishes the COVID-19 Rent Resolution and Relief Fund that seeks to assist landlords in their economic difficulties that might prevent them from paying mortgage or completing obligations related to their properties. The fund will be administered by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. According to the ordinance, the fund will be used to give grants that may cover up to 50% of the rent the landlord has waived, up to $3,000 per unit per month. For small landlords — those that have 10 or fewer rental units — the grants may be of more than $3,000 per month and may cover up to 65% of the rent. 

Landlords must submit an application signed by them and their respective tenants that establishes that renter has been unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 related difficulties, and that the landlord will waive obligations from them while covered by the grant. These funds will be awarded until March 31, 2023. 

The sponsors of the ordinance are supervisors Dean Preston, Hill Ronen, Gordon Mar, Shamann Walton, Matt Haney, Sandra Lee Fewer and Ahsha Safai. Supervisor Preston commented on the ordinance:  

“We are providing a roadmap for recovery, and that means making sure renters and small landlords are not left out in the cold if tenants can’t pay rent because of COVID,” Preston said in a statement, according to the San Francisco Examiner. “San Franciscans have a choice: Leave vulnerable tenants saddled by rent debt and small property owners at risk of default, or slightly increase taxes on billionaire real estate investors to help pay for our recovery efforts.”

A report requested by Supervisor Dean Preston, released on Tuesday, Oct. 27, by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, estimates that the amount of unpaid residential rent in San Francisco between April and September 2020 ranges from $13.6 million to $32.7 million per month. The report says that due to the spike in unemployment because of the shelter-in-place orders, there was an increase in partial or full non-payment of residential rent by San Francisco tenants during the previously mentioned months. The increase has been documented and analyzed by several organizations including the Census Bureau, the San Francisco Apartment Association and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.