City Attorney David Chiu

Chiu and Ronen statement on court victory upholding San Francisco eviction protection law

Decision protects tenants from bad-faith rent increases and coerced evictions

SAN FRANCISCO (January 24, 2022) — City Attorney David Chiu and Supervisor Hillary Ronen released the following statements today after the California Court of Appeal upheld a San Francisco law that prohibits landlords from circumventing local eviction protection laws. The law bars landlords from using egregious rent increases to force tenants living in non-rent-controlled units to vacate their housing.

City Attorney David Chiu
City Attorney David Chiu

“When a tenant’s rent is doubled or tripled, that is just an eviction by another name,” said City Attorney Chiu. “We cannot allow unscrupulous landlords to circumvent our local laws and unlawfully evict tenants. I am pleased the Court agreed and recognized the value of these common-sense regulations.”

“The argument put forward by the SF Apartment Association and the Realtors Association was absurd, and I’m glad the Court agreed,” said Supervisor Ronen. “Jacking up the rent to force a tenant to move is clearly harassment, and we are not about to tolerate that in San Francisco.”

Case Background
The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law passed in 1995, limits the ability of cities to regulate rent increases on certain types of housing. However, Costa-Hawkins does not impact cities’ abilities to enact eviction protections. In 2019, Supervisor Ronen passed an ordinance stopping landlords from using rent increases to circumvent local laws and force tenants to leave their housing.

Plaintiffs filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court challenging the law, but the trial court found in favor of the City in 2020. The plaintiffs then appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal.

The case is San Francisco Apartment Association v. City and County of San Francisco, California Court of Appeal First Appellate District, A161416.