Certificate of Preference

The Certificate of Preference is a special document that gives highest priority to applicants in City-sponsored housing lotteries. The former San Francisco Redevelopment Agency issued them to displaced households in the 1960s and 1970s.

You can exercise a Certificate of Preference twice - to rent one unit and to buy one unit.

If you don’t have the physical certificate, you can still check if you’re eligible for this program.

Eligibility for the Certificate of Preference

  • Your household must have been displaced by the former SF Redevelopment Agency in the 1960s and 1970s.
    • Being displaced by the SF Housing Authority does not make you eligible for COP.
  • Addresses affected were in the Western Addition Area Two (A-2) and Hunters Point.
    • Not all addresses in these neighborhoods are eligible.
  • The Certificate of Preference is not transferable between family members.
  • You must provide 1 form of identification, such as:

Get proof of residence

To claim a COP, you must prove you lived at an affected address at the time of displacement.

We accept official records that include your name, the date, and the affected addressCheck if your past address was affected »

You may use records such as:

Check if your past address was affected

Search online for your past address

No names are listed, for privacy reasons.

Fill out the online record search form

We will contact you about your eligibility, or if we need more information.

PDF icon Print, complete, and mail the paper COP Search Request Application

Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development
1 South Van Ness Avenue, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
ATTN: San Francisco Certificate of Preference Program

About the Certificate of Preference Program

The program is for former San Francisco residents displaced in the 1960s and 70s. In that time, the SF Redevelopment Agency displaced many households in the federally-funded urban renewal program.

MOHCD administers this program. For additional information, call the Certificate hotline at 415-701-5613.

The Certificate of Preference is not

  • A rental subsidy
  • A Section 8 voucher
    • MOHCD does not administer the Section 8 program
  • A homebuyer education completion certificate

More information