Commercial Leasing During a Pandemic
by Carlos Serrano-Quan

In San Francisco and many cities across the nation, many small businesses including my friends and business associates have been hanging by a thread during this pandemic. We were forced last Sunday to reduce for the second time this year the capacity or shut down completely as a result of a restrictive citywide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
An ordinance passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors last week restricts landlords from evicting commercial tenants unable to pay rent due to the Covid-19 pandemic through at least March 2021, when a state executive order allowing local jurisdictions to enact commercial eviction protections is set to expire. The legislation, spearheaded by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, classifies small businesses into four tiers: businesses with less than 10 or fewer employees (tier 1); those with 11 to 15 employees (2); businesses with 26 to 50 employees (3); and those with over 50 (4). Businesses in the first three tiers are protected from eviction during forbearance periods of varying lengths — between 12 and 24 months — to pay back rent owed after the moratorium expires. Should “good faith” negotiations between landlords and small business owners prove unsuccessful, tier 1 businesses are given the option to exit their leases on a 30 day notice and without penalty.

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