What is Rent Control? ... and How Does It Affect Me?
In general, "rent control" refers to the regulation of the amount charged to tenants for their rental housing. Rent control in the City of Berkeley is governed by the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. This ordinance was passed by Berkeley voters in June of 1980 and it applies to most residential units in Berkeley.
The Rent Stabilization Board's mission is to protect against unwarranted rent increases and evictions and to provide a fair return to property owners.
How Does Rent Control Affect Me?
Property Owners (and managers) must register rented units, only evict tenants for good cause, and may only charge rents at or below the lawful rent ceiling. Owners may submit a petition to determine the status of a unit, adjust the individual rent in certain circumstances, or certify a rent ceiling.
Tenants should know their rights under the Ordinance, including their lawful rent ceiling, eviction protections and right to interest on their security deposit as stated in the Ordinance.
Realtors should know about Berkeley’s rental registration requirements, that foreclosure is NOT a good cause for eviction in Berkeley, and how to find the lawful rent ceiling for a given rental unit.
Prospective Buyers should always contact the Rent Stabilization Program in person, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 510.981.RENT (7368) to find out the registration status of a unit and/or property they are considering for purchase.
Stabilization Is Our Middle Name
In a rising rental market, rent control provides stability that benefits both older, long term tenancies and newer tenancies:
Median rent for new tenancies, published annually by the Rent Board, is used to compare market rents to the rent paid by tenancies under rent control.
The graph above compares market rents for 2 bedroom units with rent controlled tenancies that began in 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2012 and shows that even tenancies that started within the past few years benefit significantly from a stabilized rent.