Supervisor Dean Preston said he will introduce legislation protecting tenants from eviction due to loss of income caused by coronavirus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Preston calls for ban on evictions of tenants affected by coronavirus

Legislation to be introduced at Tuesday Board of Supervisor’s meeting

As the City begins to feel the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, elected officials are attempting to protect tenants who are caught in the fallout.

District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston on Friday said he planned to introduce legislation to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to prevent landlords from evicting tenants based on loss of income associated with COVID-19. The ordinance would protect tenants who are unable to pay rent due to coronavirus or from following government-recommended health precautions.

“With San Franciscans being urged to avoid certain gatherings and workplace situations, with residents who are feeling sick being urged to stay home, and with the possibility of further recommendations that residents stay home, it is essential to take action to prevent eviction of tenants who cannot pay rent if they lose income as a result of their compliance with recommendations of the Department of Public Health,” Preston said on Twitter.

City health officials on Friday made recommendations urging residents to avoid large social gatherings, for private businesses to cancel events and for companies to encourage employees to work from home to prevent the spread of the virus. The number of confirmed cases of the virus had risen to eight as of Saturday, the Department of Public Health reported.

“San Francisco needs to be at the forefront of addressing this crisis and its consequences in all respects,” Preston said. “One essential protection we can give residents is a place to be safe and healthy during a pandemic.”

The announcement follows moves by other cities to protect residents from the economic of the virus. On Friday, Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose proposed a temporary moratorium on evictions of tenants who had suffered wage loss due after missing work because of COVID-19.

“Anyone who has lost income and is no longer able to pay rent, we want to do everything we can to keep them housed,” Liccardo said during a press conference Friday. “We know it’s a public health and public safety issue if thousands of residents are being pushed out onto the street.”

The California Apartment Association, which represents rental home and apartment owners, issued a statement Friday on the proposed San Jose legislation saying it would support the “narrowly defined and limited moratorium on evictions.”

“We will encourage our larger membership to be mindful of their tenants who are suffering as a result of the virus,” said Anil Babbar, vice president of public affairs in a statement. “This is a difficult period and everyone has a responsibility to do their part as we work towards halting the spread of the virus.”

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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