San Francisco's 10-day warning notice is invalidated for the time being

On Wednesday, March 23, our industry partners were successful in obtaining a stay on the city's newly minted ordinance that makes it incumbent upon landlords to serve a 10-day warning notice to tenants prior to serving a traditional 3-day notice to "cure or quit."

A victory for rental housing providers in San Francisco, and let's hope it is not short-lived.

While landlords pursuing certain types of evictions can ordinarily serve a 3-day notice, this wasn't ample time for Supervisor Dean Preston and other tenants' advocates.

They successfully pushed through Ordinance No.18-22, which dictated that tenants must be provided written notice and additional time to cure non-payment of rent or other lease violations. This ordinance, to our knowledge, was the first of its kind.

Resultingly, the San Francisco Apartment Association and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco banded together to file a lawsuit challenging the ordinance. The main argument was that the carefully choreographed steps of the eviction process are governed by state law and that a local government cannot tamper with this patterned approach.

The Ordinance's 10-day warning period more than quadruples the time it takes for landlords to regain possession of their property, the lawsuit notes, and this flies in the face of state law. This argument was initially persuasive to the Honorable Charles F. Haines, who granted a stay until there is a final resolution to the matter.

We caution at this early juncture that the lawsuit is not over but we can ignore the ordinance for now and proceed with unlawful detainer (eviction) actions without affording tenants a ten-day warning period.

This stay on the legislation requiring a 10-day warning prior to a 3-day notice is an indication that our arguments may have merit and deserve to be considered in the courts.  We continue to assert that unlawful detainers are under State, not Local, jurisdiction.

~ Noni Richen, President of SPOSF/SPOSFI