Guide to Tenant Protections in Petaluma

Are you a property owner in the City of Petaluma who rents to a tenant(s)? Are you a renter in the City of Petaluma? `If you are either, you should be aware of the City’s Residential Tenancy Protections (Tenant Protections) that took effect on October 12, 2022 and subsequent amendments that took effect on June 15, 2023.


Both the State of California and the City of Petaluma have adopted new laws that are meant to protect tenants from the termination of their tenancy. These protections are particularly focused on “no-fault” termination of tenancy - when the reason for termination is not because of a cause created by the tenant. These “no-fault” terminations can cause hardship for tenants and thus require special noticing and assistance in some cases so that the tenant has the time and help they need to move.

This is a summary meant to help you understand and comply with State of California and City of Petaluma Laws. We are sharing this for your convenience. The rules fall into two general categories: 1) tenant rights and termination of tenancy, and 2) rent increases. Petaluma’s rules apply to tenant rights and termination of tenancy. The State rules apply to rent increases.

Landlords should review the Petaluma Ordinance here, the CA State Law here, and speak with an attorney or with a representative from Petaluma People Services to be sure you are complying with the new laws as there are more details, definitions, and caveats not included here for brevity.

This list is a summary of all applicable laws. The current State of California rules took effect January 1, 2020. The Petaluma rules took effect October 13, 2022, and amendments to the ordinance took effect on June 15, 2023. Subscribe here to be notified about changes to Petaluma laws related to tenant protections.


The Ordinance applies on the first day of tenancy.


The following situations are not subject to the Petaluma rules:

  • Transient and tourist occupancies
  • Housing accommodations in a nonprofit hospital, religious facility, extended care facility, licensed residential care facility for the elderly.
  • Dormitories owned and operated by a school.
  • Small Property Owners – Small Property Owners are:
    • Owners who own 3 or fewer units and who are NOT real estate investment trusts, corporations, or limited liability companies w/ at least 1 corporate member
      • Required notice must be provided in writing and must state the following:
        • “The property is not subject to the just cause requirements in Section 1946.2 of the Civil Code or in Chapter 6.60 Petaluma Municipal Code, and the owner is not a real estate investment trust, corporation, or limited liability company with at least one corporate member, and owns three or fewer residential units in Petaluma.”
  • Temporary Tenancies: Tenancy in the primary residence of the owner that is less than 12 months in duration pursuant to an agreement specifying a date when the rental agreement will expire and the tenant shall surrender the unit so the owner may re-occupy it as their primary residence.
  • Tenant Property Managers: Any dwelling unit occupied by a tenant who is employed by a landlord for the purpose of managing the property or by a tenant who is permitted to reside in the dwelling unit in consideration of managing the property.
  • Units Shared with Owner: Any dwelling unit in which the owner resides with a tenant or tenant household as the owner’s primary residence and in which the owner shares a bathroom or kitchen with the tenant or tenant household.

“At-fault” reasons to terminate a tenancy include when a tenant: 

  • Fails to pay rent 
  • Breaches rental agreement 
  • Tenant commits illegal activity
  • Unlawful use of premises
  • Tenant is maintaining the unit as a nuisance
  • Commits waste of the unit
  • Refuses to enter a substantially similar new lease
  • Sublets in violation of the lease
  • Fails to vacate if fired by landlord and lodging was part of the job
  • Fails to give access to landlord 
  • Fails to deliver possession of unit after notifying owner that tenant would deliver.

Landlord can terminate a tenancy without cause (“no-fault”) when

  • Owner wants to remove a unit from the rental market 
  • Owner or family member wants to occupy unit 
  • Substantial rehabilitation to the unit is needed for health and safety purposes 
  • Government or court ordered unit to be vacated

Owner may not terminate a tenancy in retaliation of the tenant exercising their rights under the Ordinance


Landlords must notify their tenants about their rights when:

  • Entering, or changing, a lease
  • Raising the rent
  • Before and after the sale or acquisition of a unit

If the City updates applicable laws – Subscribe Here to be notified.

  1. Provide Tenants with a Notice of Termination: ENGLISH  |  ESPAÑOL
    • Landlord must provide this notice to the tenant(s) in the language used to negotiate the lease.   
    • The Notice of Termination must be provided to the tenant(s) in advance of the proposed move out date.  The timing of the notice is in accordance with the Civil Code.
  2. Additional Noticing: The “No-fault” reasons for terminating a tenancy permitted under the TPA include the following and require additional noticing as noted below:
    • Permanent withdrawal from rental market. Require Notice 6L: English  |  Español
    • Owner to occupy dwelling unit. Require Notice 6M: English  |  Español
    • Substantial rehabilitation for health and safety. Require Notice 6N: – English  |  Español
  3. Stop Accepting Rent
    • If you have provided your tenant with the Notice of Termination, you may not collect rent beyond the intended move-out date.

Pay Relocation

If Landlord terminates a tenancy for “No-fault” (to permanently remove a unit from the market, owner to occupy a unit, for substantial rehabilitation, or government order) the tenant is entitled to relocation assistance. The assistance can be a direct payment or credit towards payments due.  

Amount of relocation assistance: 

  • 250% of one month of rent or $9,000 whichever is less.

Offer Unit to Original Tenant

Owner must re-offer the dwelling unit to the displaced tenant if tenant is dispaced through a “no-fault” termination and provides notice to the landlord that they want the first right of refusal if the unit is placed back on the rental market six months after displacement. 

Submit forms in person or by mail to:  11 English St, Petaluma, 94952; or by email to: [email protected].

The City of Petaluma’s tenant protection ordinance authorizes tenants to bring civil actions to determine the applicability of the Ordinance to their tenancy. If the tenants prevail in a wrongful eviction action, they may recover their attorneys’ fees from the owner.

The City’s Ordinance does not address rental increases. However, the California Tenant Protection Act (TPA) does limit rent increases. Under the TPA, annual rent increases are limited to 5% plus a cost of living adjustment or 10%, whichever is less. This CA guide for tenants and landlords includes all state rules describing these limits.

The TPA exempts the following properties from its rent control protections:

  • Housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the past 15 years (this is a rolling date)
  • Owner-occupied duplexes
  • Student occupants of higher education dormitories
  • Residential real property that is alienable separately from the title to any other dwelling unit (i.e., single family homes and townhomes), with certain ownership restrictions (i.e., not owned by a corporation or investment trust);
  • Affordable housing; and
  • Assisted housing developments.

The information on this website is intended to help Petaluma tenants and landlords understand and comply with the City's residential rental property regulations. This information is not legal advice.  Staff will be happy to respond to questions about the effect of the City's regulations.  However, tenants and landlords are strongly encouraged to consult with qualified legal professionals before making decisions that affect their rights.

Buckelew Supportive Housing


Petaluma People Service Center
  • Free, non-biased services to all tenants, agents, and landlords who live in, manage, or own property in Petaluma.
  • Phone: 707-765-8488
City of Petaluma Housing Manager
  • Questions about the City's rules and submitting required forms.
  • Email: [email protected]
Legal Aid of Sonoma County
  • Help with eviction defense, Section 8 issues, mobile home park support, habitability problems, and price gouging for low-income tenants.
  • Phone: 707-843-4432


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