Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

See information about deferring rent, voluntary agreements with landlords, and housing assistance grants

Berkeley, California (Monday, April 06, 2020) - Renters in Berkeley experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 should contact their landlords no more than 7 days after rent is due to protect themselves from eviction.

A simple written notification via email or mail is sufficient, but you may be required to provide details at a later date. You can also use a Rent Board’s template for this letter.

Renters who notify landlords on time would be allowed to pay back their rent within six months after the local State of Emergency expires, as part of a Berkeley City Council moratorium on local evictions. Landlords would not be able to charge late fees on the deferred rent and cannot evict for unpaid rent.

Preserve documentation

Tenants need to preserve any documentation that shows financial hardship, such as:

  • Decrease in household income due to layoffs or reduction of hours
  • Decrease in household income due to caregiving responsibilities, including child care needs arising from school closures
  • Substantial material out-of-pocket medical expenses

You must keep documentation that shows why you cannot pay the full rent. In the future, you may have to prove how you were financially impacted.

If the tenant notifies the landlord of their hardship within the 7-day timeline, landlords cannot evict tenants financially affected by the COVID-19 during the local State of Emergency. Tenants should notify the landlord as soon as possible.

A landlord may request that the City Manager or their designee waive or modify the prohibition on evictions if they can prove hardship or that not being able to evict would be an unconstitutional taking, under guidelines developed by the City Manager's Office.

Housing retention grants

The Berkeley City Council has also created housing retention grants for renters struggling with COVID-19 related financial hardships.

This program is intended to prevent homelessness for Berkeley residents. Funds may be used to supplement rent for temporary or permanent housing, utility bills, or other housing-related expenses. Applications will be required to submit documentation of their low-income status, rental agreement or lease, and other relevant information.

Landlord-tenant voluntary agreements

Landlords may temporarily reduce or forgive rents to assist their tenants cope with the COVID-19 crisis without permanently reducing the amount of rent that can be charged for the unit.

Landlords and tenants must have a written agreement that must state that the reduction is temporary, and is not related to market conditions, habitability, or a reduction in housing services.

Written agreements entered into during the local State of Emergency may extend beyond the expiration of the local State of Emergency where the landlord and tenant expressly agree to the duration in writing. These agreements would not permanently reduce the rent an owner can charge at the end of the agreement.

For questions, contact the Rent Board at 510-981-7368 (RENT) or rent@cityofberkeley.info. You can also see their COVID-19 page and sign up for their email list, which is being used to contact people directly.


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