County of Marin - News Releases - Just Cause for Eviction

For Immediate Release
November 27, 2018

Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance Heads to Board

If approved, landlords would be required to justify why a tenant is being evicted

San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin is considering an ordinance that would require a landlord who operates a rental property in unincorporated Marin County to cite a reason why a tenant is being evicted.

Residents pick up written materials from a table prior to the Board of Supervisors meeting.People at a Board of Supervisors meeting pick up printed documents prior to a public workshop about the just cause for eviction ordinance.

The draft ordinance would apply to properties within the unincorporated areas of the county with three or more rental units. Accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units would not be counted in applying the ordinance.

With an eye on relieving housing displacement pressures felt by residents, the draft ordinance would require a landlord to have just cause to evict a tenant. The causes described in the draft ordinance include:

  • failure to pay rent;
  • breach of the rental contract;
  • the tenant uses the unit for illegal activities;
  • the landlord will permanently remove the unit from the rental market; and
  • the landlord will move into the unit.

The first reading of the just cause ordinance, drafted by the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), is going before the Marin County Supervisors at 5:30 p.m. December 4. If the Board approves the first reading, a merit hearing and a possible vote would be scheduled for 1:30 p.m. December 18. If adopted by the Board of Supervisors at that time, the ordinance would go into effect on January 17, 2019.

The Board directed staff in September 2018 to draft a just cause ordinance for its consideration after conducting a workshop to hear more from residents about the topic. The Board also requested more data on evictions and rents, so CDA staff has included a data collection provision as part of the ordinance.

A just cause ordinance would not constitute limitations on allowable rent increases. Two Bay Area cities – Emeryville and Union City – have just cause ordinances in place without a rent control ordinance.

Renters who receive lease terminations often have trouble finding a new home in their community. With difficulty keeping kids in schools and parents near their jobs, an unexpected eviction can lead to long-term or permanent displacement out of Marin. A just cause ordinance is designed to mitigate for tenants the threat of unexpected lease terminations caused by no fault of their own.

Just cause has been studied as part of a larger series of affordable housing and tenant protection measures the Board has been working on since 2015. County housing measures already approved and in place include source of income protection for tenants with housing vouchers, mandatory mediation for rent increases above 5 percent, and financial incentives to encourage landlords to rent to those who need shelter the most.

Materials about just cause are available on the CDA website, including answers to frequently asked questions and sample ordinances. Anyone may subscribe to receive e-mailed notifications regarding the availability of the staff report and to stay informed about housing-related issues.

The first reading of the ordinance will take place December 4 in the Board of Supervisors chamber, Suite 330, of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. It will be shown live to Comcast and AT&T U-Verse subscribers on Comcast Channel 27 and webcast live on the County’s website.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail


Leelee Thomas
Planning Manager
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6697
Email: Leelee Thomas
Affordable Housing webpage