Renter Protections

Just Cause

The Town of Fairfax recently passed an ordinance that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants without cause. Effective March 6, 2019, Town Code now requires Notice of Terminations delivered by landlords to their tenants to identify the allowable reasons for which they are evicting the tenant. A copy of the Notice of Termination must be provided to the Town of Fairfax within 10 days of service.

Grounds for eviction include:

For cause terminations

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Breach of rental contract.
  3. Tenant illegal activities.
  4. Threat of violent crime.
  5. Nuisance behavior.
  6. Damaging or trespassing on the property of another tenant or landlord.

No fault terminations

  1. Landlord will permanently remove unit from the rental market.
  2. Landlord, or a close family member, will move in to the unit.
  3. Substantial rehabilitation is required to meet health & safety standards.

The Just Cause ordinance applies to all rental units in Fairfax with a few exceptions:

  • Rooms in an owner-occupied single-family home.
  • Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs).
  • Units occupied by a tenant employed as the property manager.
  • All units in developments where at least 49% of the units are restricted as affordable.
  • Units with government-subsidized rents.

 

Mandatory Mediation

On May 1, 2019, Fairfax City Council adopted a mandatory mediation program to respond to escalating rent increases. In doing so, it seeks to promote community accountability and support housing stability.  Tenants and landlords who are party to a rent increase greater than 5% over a one-year period would be eligible for mandatory mediation. Mediation is non-binding and does not guarantee a reduction in any rent increase.  Tenants are required to pay all rent legally due to the landlord during the mediation process. Both landlords and tenants are required to participate in “good faith” in the mediation process. The Town has contracted with the Marin County District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit to review service requests and to conduct the mediations at no costs to the applicants.

Landlords would be required to provide tenants with a Notice of Tenant Rights to this program before June 30, 2019, when renewing a rental agreement, and when providing notice of rent increase. These notice and forms are available under the “forms and documents” section on the County’s Rental Housing Dispute Resolution page: www.marincounty.org/mandatorymediation.

To apply for mediation, tenants and landlords should complete a Mandatory Mediation Service Request form, available at www.marincounty.org/mandatorymediation, and submit it to the Marin County District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit:

 

Marin County District Attorney’s Office

Consumer Protection Unit – Mediation

Hall of Justice, Room 145

3501 Civic Center Drive

San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 473-6495

consumer@marincounty.org

 

The Town has contracted with the County of Marin to review service requests and to conduct the mediations at no costs to the applicants.

 

More resources and information, including Frequently Asked Questions and fillable copies of the Notice of Tenant Rights, are available at www.marincounty.org/mandatorymediation.

 

Income-Based Rental Housing Discrimination

At its April 4, 2018, meeting, the Council adopted an ordinance which prohibits landlords from discriminating against prospective renters solely on the basis that a portion of their rent is guaranteed by a third-party subsidy (e.g., Section 8 housing voucher).

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