Surprising Number Of SF Renters Break Leases Due To Pandemic

Matt Bigler
June 18, 2020 - 11:14 am

    A surprising number of San Francisco renters are breaking their leases and leaving the city.

    Over the last three months, 7.5% of the city’s renters, or one in 13 tenants, walked away from their leases, according to the San Francisco Apartment Association. 

    “Property owners are very concerned about the pandemic’s effect on the rental market,” said Charley Goss, spokesperson for the SF Apartment Association in a previous interview with KCBS Radio. 

    When the pandemic first hit, landlords worried that tenants would not be able to pay the rent. That largely has not come to pass, with only 3.5% of renters missing their June payments and another 2.5% paying only partial rent.

    But while the city has passed a temporary moratorium on evictions, renters who are out of work will still have to pay off their rent eventually. And with some tech companies such as Facebook announcing that employees can continue to work from home for several months, some renters may feel that the city’s sky-high rents are simply not worth it.

    And the trend might not be limited to San Francisco. A recent report from Zillow found that about 2.7 million U.S. adults moved back in with parents or grandparents in March and April. A vast majority of them are from Gen Z, 18 to 25 years of age.  

    All those broken leases could also mean thousands of empty apartments, which may help bring down the city’s rents.

    “Rents are generally tied to the local economy and with the economy struggling, we expect rents to go down inevitably,” said Goss.