Housing Element Concerns

The citizens of Fairfax recognize the need for affordable housing in our community.

Over a million dollars of tax payer money has been wastefully spent on outside planning consultants whose job was to develop a successful Housing Element Plan for Fairfax.

The Fairfax Town Council failed to submit a Housing Element Plan by the due date, 1/31/23.

Several lawsuits were filed against the Town of Fairfax for non-compliance, subjecting Fairfax to ‘Builder’s Remedy’ , which prevents Fairfax from using its zoning or general plan standards to reject any housing project that meets State affordability requirements. The removal of local housing controls facilitates the construction of large housing developments, leaving Fairfax open to reckless planning and potential lawsuits. (See reference below)

ADUs and JADUs are encouraged by the State’s Housing and Community Development (HCD) division, which assists communities in achieving compliance with current state mandated Housing Element goals. (See HCD website link below for more information)

Fairfax’s recently adopted ‘rent stabilization’ and ‘just cause’ eviction ordinances are so discriminatory against landlords that new data shows approximately 30% of Fairfax landlords will be permanently removing their rental units from the market, resulting in a loss of affordable housing.

From Survey Results

Survey Results at: https://fairfaxresidents.org/survey-results

This includes many of Fairfax’s ‘mom and pop’ landlords who, in good faith, built ADUs and JADUs on their properties in compliance with addressing California’s housing needs.

These new Ordinances create legal barriers for homeowners, making it impossible to remove bad tenants or to have control over who lives in their homes or on their property.

This is very frightening to senior citizens who would rather eat less or do without than co-exist with an unruly tenant who threatens them under their own roof.

The HCD requires that towns must remove any barriers to housing, particularly those that might perpetuate patterns of discrimination.

These new Ordinances foster age discrimination towards residents who have worked their entire lives to achieve the goal of home ownership and invested savings in income-producing ADUs or JADUs so they can age in place.

Now their retirement is threatened by loss of income .

Experts say Rent Control will force rents to go up and property values to drop.

Under the recently adopted ‘rent stabilization’ and ‘just cause’ eviction ordinances, cases pertaining to them must be heard in Berkeley, not Marin County.

This requirement is discriminatory to both renters and landlords due to the inconvenience. Many residents do not drive or own cars. Think of all the public transportation involved to get to hearings by a certain time in Berkeley (buses, ferry boat, shuttle, BART to Berkeley from SF, more buses) and then a repeat of the process returning to Marin County.

The proposed implementation of these Ordinances will cost tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in legal and administrative costs.

In addition to the Fairfax Ordinances, we have State and County ‘rent stabilization’ and ‘just cause’ eviction ordinances. Parts of Fairfax are unincorporated, controlled by County Ordinances.

Conflicting state, county and local ordinances confuse and infuriate both renters and landlords.

This creates an internal inconsistency in our small town where nobody is clear on what laws to follow.

Without listening to voter input, The Fairfax Town Council has failed its citizens and we are paying the price.


FAIRFAX SUED OVER TARDY PLAN FOR HOUSING, Marin Independent Journal, 2/8/2023


California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has an accountability and enforcement process available for anyone to use to anonymously file complaints against townships which are failing to fulfill their Housing Element obligations.

We encourage Fairfax residents to submit complaints to the HCD. This is one more way to add pressure on the Fairfax Town Council to pause the implementation of these ordinances until they are brought to a vote of the people, or better yet, repeal them.



As part of the 2021-2022 state budget, HCD received additional staff to grow its accountability efforts and formed the Housing Accountability Unit (HAU). The HAU holds jurisdictions accountable for meeting their housing element commitments and complying with state housing laws. Violations of these state laws may lead to consequences including revocation of housing element certification and/or referral to the California Office of the Attorney General.

In 2017, several bills were adopted to strengthen and clarify existing laws, increasing accountability and enforcement to better address the housing needs of Californians.

Included among them are:


Government Code sections 65580-65589.11

HCD has authority to review any action or failure to act by a local government that it determines is inconsistent with an adopted housing element or Housing Element Law. This includes failure to implement program actions included in the housing element.


Government Code section 65589.5

The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) limits local government’s ability to deny, reduce the density of, or make infeasible housing development projects, emergency shelters, or farmworker housing that are consistent with objective local development standards and contribute to meeting housing need.


Government Code section 65852.2

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior ADUs (JADUs) are a flexible form of housing that is “affordable by design” and that can provide additional income to homeowners. ADU law addresses barriers, streamlines approval, and expands potential capacity for ADUs, recognizing their unique importance in addressing California’s housing needs. While not required, jurisdictions may adopt an ordinance to outline standards for permitting ADUs and JADUs. HCD must review ADU ordinances for compliance with state law.


Government Code section 65008

An action by a local jurisdiction is null and void if it denies any individual or group of individuals residence, land ownership, tenancy, or any other land use in the state based on the following: lawful occupation, age, or protected characteristic of any individual or groups of individuals; the method of financing of any residential development (including affordable housing); and the intended occupancy of any residential development by persons or families of very low, low, moderate, or middle income.


To open a case and file an anonymous complaint, you must first create an account with the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

To do this, visit the Housing Accountability Unit Portal located on the HCD website below. Processing time takes approximately two weeks. We encourage you to tell your own stories of how local ‘rent stabilization’ and ‘just cause’ eviction ordinances have negatively affected State mandated requirements for providing affordable housing in Fairfax.