Guide for tenants being sued for pandemic rent debt

Categories: eNewsletter Story, Homepage, News

An article by Noah Arroyo published yesterday in the San Francisco Public Press provides a useful overview of critical first steps and frequently asked questions for tenants facing lawsuits in small claims court for unpaid rent during the pandemic. Starting November 1st, landlords seeking to recover unpaid rent will be permitted to sue tenants in small claims or civil court. BayLegal Senior Consumer Attorney Kari Rudd, along with our colleagues from Open Door Legal, Legal Assistance to the Elderly, the Eviction Defense Collaborative provide information and pointers to resources for tenants who might soon be facing collections lawsuits, on topics including:

  • the small claims court process and timeline;
  • immigration status concerns and protections;
  • possibilities for reducing rent debt;
  • the collections process and protections against collection and garnishment for certain kinds of income; and
  • the risks of repayment plans and renegotiated leases.


Some of the information presented is specific to San Francisco small claims court, but the article contains helpful summaries of California consumer protections and tenant rights as well. Thanks to Noah Arroyo and San Francisco Public Press for their work in getting this critical information out as California approaches the onset of landlord collection lawsuits and low-income tenants face severely heightened uncertainty and financial insecurity.