Updated November 2, 2010
While some cities in Marin County have rent control for mobile home parks, including Novato, and San Rafael, no cities have enacted rent or eviction protection for single family homes, flats and apartments. Tenants in Marin County pay some of the highest monthly rents in the Bay Area and even the United States. It is not uncommon for security deposits to be in the $10,000 range for properties in Mill Valley, Sausalito and Corte Madera.
With no eviction and rent protection, Marin County tenants must rely on state law protections. Under state law, a landlord must provide sixty days notice for a rent increase of ten percent or more for tenants in possession for one year or more. The notice is thirty days for tenants with less tenure and for increases of less than ten percent.
Since there are no extra, local eviction protections, tenants are only entitled to sixty days notice for termination of tenancy. Where a tenant has a long-term lease, a landlord must wait for the lease to expire before evicting. In most cases, a new owner after foreclosure must wait until a long-term lease expires before evicting. A month-to-month tenant will usually be entitled to provide ninety days notice.
Of course a tenant in Marin County or anywhere in California cannot be evicted after a repair request or after otherwise asserting rights under law. If a landlord endeavors to wrongfully evict a tenant or lock a tenant out, the tenant will be entitled to actual damages, emotional distress damages, and punitive damages.
Landlords who fail to repair property in Marin County are in breach of lease. Tenants in units that have habitability violations are entitled to a rent reduction and a return of rent paid from the time the unit first became uninhabitable. In Marin County, monthly rents are high, so damage awards for failure to maintain can be equally high. Serious habitability issues, such as mold, water leaks, no heat, lead paint, asbestos, sewage leaks, rats, mice, rodents and cockroaches give rise to unhappy tenants and lawsuits.