NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING RENTAL PROPERTIES
RECENT STATE OR LOCAL LAW CHANGES
New Tenant Buyout Ordinance: Effective April 30, 2016, the City of Berkeley has enacted new rights and obligations to tenants and landlords entering into "buyout" agreements. Such agreements include any promise to permanently vacate a controlled rental unit in Berkeley for compensation from the landlord. Landlords must provide tenants with a written disclosure of tenants' rights prepared by the Rent Board prior to making any buyout offer. Tenants have the right to rescind any buyout agreement at any time during the first 30 days after all parties sign. Learn more about the Tenant Buyout Ordinance.
SB655 Declaring Presence of Mold to be a Substandard Condition: On October 9, 2015 Governor Brown signed California Senate Bill 655 into law. This law deems visible mold growth that is not minor, to be a “substandard condition” and thus a potential housing code violation. Learn more about Senate Bill 655.
New Alameda County Mandatory Recycling Requirements. Effective July 1, 2014 all multi-unit dwellings with five (5) or more residential units will be required to provide recycling as well as compost collection for their tenants’ food scraps, food-soiled papers, and any plant debris generated at the property. This requirement is part of the County’s Phase 2 of the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance. For more information, click on the following links:
-- Berkeley's Zero Waste Program and Services Webpage
-- Alameda County Waste Authority's Mandatory Recycling Website
To establish recycling service at your property please call the City's Customer Service Call Center at 311 (510-981-7270). The City of Berkeley provides free assistance, collection containers, and instructional posters to all refuse accounts. Visit the City of Berkeley Recycling Website for more info at: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/recycling/
Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Ordinance. The Berkeley City Council adopted Ordinance No. 7,321-N.S regulating second hand smoke in ALL multi-unit residences and common areas. As of May 1, 2014, smoking will be prohibited in 100% of multi-unit housing with two or more units (i.e. apartments, co-ops, condominiums, common interest developments, etc). This also includes common areas such as private decks, balconies, and porches of units. For more information, visit the City’s Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Law webpage.
California Smoking Law. As of January 2013, Civil Code section 1947.5, allows landlords to ban smoking in residential dwellings, even if previously allowed. However, this law does not pre-empt local ordinances such as Berkeley's Rent Ordinance, which prohibits tenants from being evicted for not agreeing to a unilateral change in the terms of a tenancy. Thus, although a landlord and a tenant may mutually agree to a smoking prohibition on the premise, the tenant is not required to accept such a ban where non existed before. Tenants may voluntarily sign amended leases or addendums to their lease prohibiting smoking. More info and sample lease addendums are available on the Smoking Prohibition Addendum page.
Tenant Screening Fees Law. Before collecting a fee from prospective tenants to run a credit check or process a rental application, landlords must now furnish a "Tenant Screening Fee Rights" statement and disclose the maxiumum fee allowed under state law (Civil Code section 1950.6 (b). Tenants are entitled to a copy of the credit report, a receipt, and any unused portion of the fee. The current cap on screening fees is $44.51. More information regarding visit the Rent Board's Tenant Screening Fees page.
New California State Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Device(s). Effective July 1, 2011 all single family dwellings must have carbon monoxide devices installed. And all multi-unit dwellings as of January 1, 2013.
For questions pertaining to existing housing or rental housing contact the Housing and Community Services Department, Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP) office at (510) 981-5445
For questions pertaining to permitted new construction contact the Planning Department at (510) 981‑7440.
RECENT RENT BOARD REGULATION CHANGES
Regulation 1138 - 2016 Annual General Adjustment Order. Adopted October 19, 2015
Regulation 1003 – Amended paragraph (C) to make clear that the Board will review the lawful maximum rent and not rent ceiling for subtenants and added paragraph (D) regarding calculating rent overcharges. Amended October 2015.
Regulation 1018 - Added Section (D) to further clarify the way the Board has always interpreted this regulation (the relevant date to determine whether a tenant no longer permanently resides in a unit is the date of filing, and a landlord may not use evidence of past absences unless they are related to whether the tenant is currently residing at the unit). Amended November 2014.
Regulation 509 - This regulation makes clear that the Board will only consider a legal unit to qualify as new construction if it has received a Certificate of Occupancy issued after February 1, 1995. This standard is consistent with Costa Hawkins. Regulation 509 also makes clear that all units that were previously exempt before the passage of Costa Hawkins shall remain exempt. All units constructed as the result of rehabilitation, conversion, or partial demolition of existing units where a Certificate of Occupancy has not been issued shall not qualify as new construction. Adopted November 17, 2014.
The full text of all Rent Board Regulations may be viewed at the Rent Board Regulations Page or in the Board’s Public Information Unit at 2125 Milvia Street weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. except for Wednesdays when the hours are noon to 6:30 p.m.
If you do not see the Regulation change you are looking for here, visit the Rent Board Regulation Changes Archive page.