Just-cause eviction ordinance is needed
Marin renters face a housing crisis: rental housing is scarce, rents are rising and renters are vulnerable. Renters do not enjoy the same security that any homeowner enjoys — knowing that if the bills are paid and the property is maintained, they can continue to stay in their home.
That stability allows children to attend school without disruption, seniors to have continuity of care and support, and people from all walks of life to contribute daily to Marin’s quality of life. And housing instability disproportionately affects families with children, people of color and individuals with disabilities (many of whom are seniors). Marin, already lacking in diversity, risks continuing to lose ground.
Marin County has made great strides toward protecting tenants through its mandatory rent mediation program and its ordinance prohibiting discrimination against those with housing subsidies. But rent mediation without just cause for eviction (i.e., having to state a reason for evicting a tenant) is empty protection. Without just cause, property owners who want to raise rent without mediation can do so easily, by serving a no-cause notice to vacate. Discrimination and retaliation, both illegal, are difficult for tenants to prove. In Legal Aid of Marin’s experience, up to half of tenants facing eviction are asked to move for no stated reason.
On Sept. 11, Marin County’s supervisors should take action to protect renters by directing staff to draft a strong just-cause ordinance, and give all Marin’s seniors, families, workers and residents a fair chance at stable housing.
— Caroline Peattie, Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California
— Stephanie Haffner, Legal Aid of Marin