The Rent Ceiling, Rent Increases & Rent Decreases
Every residential rental unit in Berkeley that is covered by rent control has a lawful rent ceiling. The rent ceiling is the maximum amount of rent that a landlord may charge for use or occupancy of the unit and any associated housing services included in the rent, such as furnishings, parking or laundry facilities. Rent is not limited to money, but includes the fair market value of any goods or services that are provided to a landlord in place of money.
Since January 1, 1999, landlords have been allowed to set the initial rent at market unless the tenancy follows a non-qualifying vacancy. After the expiration of a fixed-term lease, the landlord may raise the rent to the rent ceiling at any time. California State law requires the landlord give a 30-day notice of rent increase for an increase of less than 10% of the current rent, and a 60-day notice for an increase of more than 10%.
Rent Ceiling Increases
Rent ceilings may be increased by annual general adjustments or by amounts granted in an Individual Rent Adjustment (IRA) petition.
Annual General Adjustment (AGA)
The rent ceiling for units under rent control is adjusted upward each year by 65% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose regions for the twelve month period ending in the previous June 30th. Units that had an initial rent set for a new tenancy in the previous calendar year are not eligible for this year's AGA. Additionally, the AGA rent increase only goes into effect if the landlord is in compliance with the Rent Ordinance and all Rent Board Regulations. The AGA increase had a low of 0.1% and a high of 2.7% since CPI based calculation began in 2005. The 2017 AGA is 1.8%, visit the 2017 AGA page for more information.
Landlord Individual Rent Adjustment petitions
Landlords may petition the Rent Board for a rent ceiling increase for any of the following reasons:
Rent Ceiling Decreases and Tenant Individual Rent Adjustment petitions
Tenants may petition the Rent Board for a decrease to their rent ceiling for any of the following reasons:
- Illegally high rent, unrefunded security deposit (Regulation 1271), and unpaid security deposit interest (Regulation 702)
- Substantial deterioration of the unit, or failure of the landlord to provide adequate services, or failure of the landlord to provide services agreed to by the parties in their initial agreement, written or oral (Regulation 1269)
- Reduction in the number of tenants allowed in the unit from the number allowed on May 31, 1980, or, for tenancies beginning after January 1, 1999, from the number allowed at the beginning of the tenancy (Regulation 1270)