For Immediate ReleaseMarch 03, 2020
Community Development Agency helps residents navigate new laws
San Rafael, CA – There’s a new one-stop online shop for Marin County renters and landlords that addresses changes in California law, maximum permissible rents, and other local laws related to renting.
“There is a lot of local interest revolving around the rent cap rules,” said Leelee Thomas, CDA’s Planning Manager for housing policy. “Housing-related legislation coming out of Sacramento directly affects our residents, and there is more in the works.”
The new County webpage includes answers to frequently asked questions about AB 1482, the County’s landlord registry for properties in unincorporated Marin, just cause for eviction policy, mandatory mediation rules, source-of-income protection for renters, and has links to other local resources.
“Our goal with the new webpage is to connect residents with information so that they can best advocate for themselves,” Thomas said. “It also serves as a central hub for both landlords and tenants to help them sort through the complexities and become more aware of their rights and responsibilities.”
The online tool was unveiled on the heels of Governor Gavin Newsom making homelessness the No. 1 topic in his State of the State address. Newsom and many other elected officials have tied California homelessness to the lack of affordable housing.
Marin’s housing market is known for its median home prices of over $1 million, high rents, low rental vacancy rates, and a recent spike in permanent displacement – people being priced out and moving away for good. The Marin County Board of Supervisors has long labeled the situation a housing crisis, one that hampers employers (including the County government) from hiring people because of “housing sticker shock.”
In 2018, 49% of renter households in Marin were considered rent-burdened, which means the occupants spent more than 30% of their income on rent. In fact, 26% of Marin households were considered “severely rent-burdened” by spending more than 50% of their collective income on rent. Marin’s median contract rent in 2018 was $2,072, and more than 42% of renters spent more than $2,000 a month on housing.
Beginning in February 2016, the Board of Supervisors committed to addressing the growing housing crisis in the County by implementing the “Preserving Affordability and Preventing Displacement” workplan, an 18-month, three-phase plan that consists of strategies to address the housing issue. The County is implementing local tenant protection policies, establishing short-term rental regulations, and creating incentives for the development of second units.
Several municipalities in Marin have passed just cause for eviction ordinances, including the County of Marin in 2018. Under AB 1482, landlords statewide are required to provide reason – a just cause – before evicting a renter. The intent is to relieve displacement pressures and support stability for renter households while retaining the rights of landlords to evict for legitimate reasons, such as clear violations of a rental agreement.
AB 1482 sets annual rent caps at 5% plus the cost of living, which at present comes to 9%. The cap applies to Marin qualified rental residences because there are no local rent cap policies on the books. Some property exemptions apply.
Any rent increase going into effect after March 15, 2019, is included retroactively in the calculation of maximum allowable rent increases, according to AB 1482.
Molly KronPlannerCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 304San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7549Email: Molly KronCDA Website