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Dispute over Mandatory Rent Hike to be Mediated

Saturday, December, 16, 2017

Mediation will be attempted in an effort to resolve the dispute over stabilizing rent in Marin County.  The county’s board of supervisors plans to discuss a potential ordinance that would require mediation in rent disputes that involve a hike of more than five percent.  The board’s program recommendation is called the Rental Housing Dispute Resolution and would defer the Residential Landlord and Tenant Relations Ordinance for a year.


When a landlord proposes a hike of more than five percent, the program would require mediation to occur.  A solution is not mandatory, but participation in the program would be.  There has been success with similar programs in the Bay Area and has addressed a number of issues including escalating rates and housing instability.  Those in support of the program also believe it has helped to prevent homelessness.


The latest ordinance would apply to more than 8000 households throughout Marin County, which accounts for more than a third of the population.


There is currently a shortage of affordable rental units in the area, according to Marin County officials.  Over the past two years, 70 percent of the people hired in Marin did not live in the county.


In 2016, the Board approved the fair housing ordinance that established protections for renters.  That spring, it removed a provision exempting owner-occupied structures from the ordinance.  A Landlord Partnership Program was also instituted that worked to acquire and preserve affordable housing units.  In spite of the efforts to make the situation manageable, there is less than a three percent vacancy rate in Marin County.