Summary of the City of San Rafael’s Eviction Control Ordinance

Summary of the City of San Rafael’s Eviction Control Ordinance

The City of San Rafael has adopted a rent and eviction control ordinance which went into effect in July 2019.  Here is a summary of the eviction protection provisions of the Ordinance. 

Covered Properties

Subject to the exceptions below, the Ordinance applies to all properties that have three or more units, including multi-family and multi-purpose properties, single room occupancy residential buildings, and units that are being used for residential purposes regardless of whether the use is permitted by the City.

The following types of properties are exempt from the ordinance and do not have eviction protection under the Ordinance:

  • Units owned or operated by any government agency;
  • Units where rent is directly subsidized by a government agency such that the tenant’s portion of the rent does not exceed 30% of household income;
  • Units located in a development where no fewer than forty-nine percent (49%) of the units are subject to legally binding restrictions enforceable against and/or governing such units that limit the rent to no more than an affordable rent;   
  • Units occupied by a tenant employed by the landlord to manage the property; and
  • Units occupied in whole or in part by the property owner or the property owner’s family members, including parents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, and/or nephews. 

Allowable Reasons for Eviction

Landlords can only evict a tenant for a reason specified by the Ordinance. The allowable reasons for an eviction are:

  1. Tenant has failed to pay rent. 
  2. Tenant has breached the lease by violating a material term of the rental agreement.
  3. Tenant is using the unit for an illegal purpose.  The tenant household, after receiving a written notice, may cure the violation by removing the offending tenant.
  4. Tenant threatens others with a violent crime. 
  5. Tenant’s behavior is a nuisance.  
  6. The unit will be permanently removed from the rental market.
  7. The landlord or one of landlord’s family members intends to move into the unit and use it as their primary residence.
  8. The unit must be vacated to undertake substantial rehabilitation for health and safety repairs to bring the unit into compliance with applicable law.  The landlord must have applied for or obtained the necessary permits for the repairs.
  9. The tenant has refused to execute a new lease on terms substantially similar to the tenant’s existing lease at the end of the original term, or the tenant has refused to accept a lease at the outset of the tenancy. 

Notification Requirement

Landlords must provide their tenants with a Notice of Tenant Rights when entering into a lease or rental agreement, when renewing a lease or rental agreement, and when providing notice of a rent increase.  Failure to do so invalidates any rent increase and precludes termination of the tenancy. 

Relocation Assistance

Currently, the ordinance does not require landlords to pay relocation benefits to tenants who are displaced by a no-fault eviction.

Please contact Lynx Legal with any questions regarding the above, and for all your eviction needs.  We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or  You can also schedule a telephonic consultation on our website.  Our experienced professionals are standing by to answer any questions or complete the intake if you are ready to start a case.

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