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What you need to know:

Residential Tenants:

Under an emergency regulation, residential tenants countywide may not be evicted for failure to pay rent if they have been financially harmed by COVID-19. Qualifications for relief include:

  • Job loss
  • Cutbacks in work hours
  • Staying home with school-age children
  • Caring for a stricken family member
  • Becoming ill with the disease

Landlords wishing to evict tenants for failure to pay rent must first send the tenant a copy of a notice alerting the tenant of the emergency regulation. The form is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Tagalog.

If a tenant cannot pay rent due to COVID-19, the tenant must notify their landlord within 14 days of receiving the emergency regulation notice. Renters are liable for back rent 180 days following the termination of the emergency. Frequently Asked Questions about the emergency regulation are available here.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 27 also issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020.

The Board of Supervisors enacted an emergency regulation temporarily banning rent increases countywide on certain residential properties where the tenant demonstrates an inability to pay as a direct result of the pandemic or any federal, state or local government response to COVID-19. The moratorium is in effect until May 31, 2020 unless extended by the Board and applies to all notices of rent increases served on or after April 28, 2020. UPDATE: On July 21, 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to extend the eviction moratorium on residential properties through August 31, 2020.

Landlords wishing to increase rent must provide the tenant with written notice of his or her rights. The notice is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Tagalog. The tenant then has 14 days after receiving the notice to provide written documentation that he or she is unable to pay as a direct result of COVID-19 or governmental response.

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available here.

Commercial Tenants

Small businesses with less than $2.5 million in annual gross revenues in unincorporated San Mateo County impacted by COVID-19 are temporarily protected from eviction by emergency regulation.

To qualify for protection, a business must show impacts from COVID-19 such as:

  • Reduction in operating hours
  • Increases in health-care expenses
  • Increases in supply or overhead expenses
  • Temporary business closure

Small businesses will be liable for back rent up to 180 days following the termination of the declared local emergency. Landlords must provide commercial tenants this form notifying them of their rights under the ordinance. The form is available in EnglishSpanishSimplified ChinesePortugueseRussian and Tagalog.

Frequently Asked Questions about the emergency regulation are available here.