Regular Meeting

Monday, September 15, 2003
7 p.m.

2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Council Chambers, Berkeley, CA.
Broadcast Live - KPFB - 89.3 FM
BTV Cable Channel 25 and
CTV Cable Channel 78


1. Roll Call - 7:00 p.m.

2. Approval of Agenda 

Please Note: The Board may rearrange items to accommodate time certain items.

3. Public Forum

4. Informational Workshops with Berkeley Housing Department Director Steve Barton on the Section 8 Program and City-wide Housing Code Enforcement Efforts

5. Approval of the Minutes

Minutes of the September 4, 2003 regular meeting.

6. Appeal - Time Certain - 7:30 p.m.

a. Appeal T-4236 - 2009 McGee Avenue #4. (Continued from September 4, 2003 meeting.) The tenants appeal the hearing examiner's finding that they failed to establish entitlement to rent reductions for mold in their unit and for a problem with a soft spot in the bathroom floor. While this petition was pending, the owner brought an unlawful detainer action against the tenants for nonpayment of rent. The tenants raised the warranty of habitability as an affirmative defense and, thereby, placed the issue of whether rent reductions were warranted for the habitability problems before the court. The court ruled that no rent reductions were in order and awarded possession and unpaid rent to the owner. Because the court issued a decision on the habitability issues, the doctrine of res judicata prohibits the relitigation of these issues in a Rent Board proceeding. For this reason, it is recommended that the decision of the hearing examiner be affirmed.

b. Appeal T-4054 - 2437 Piedmont Avenue, #208. This is a landlord's appeal of a compliance hearing decision that found that a 50% rent reduction granted because there was a reduced number of tenants allowed to occupy the subject rental unit ended October 13, 2002. Appellant does not challenge the ending of the rent reduction but, rather, challenges the propriety of granting the rent reduction in the first place. The decision granting the Regulation 1270(C) rent reduction, however, is a final decision of the Board and, as such, the Board lacks jurisdiction to change or modify it. For this reason, staff recommends that the appeal be rejected and the compliance hearing decision be affirmed.

c. Appeal T-4168 - 2437 Piedmont Avenue, #305. Both the landlord and tenant appeal the hearing examiner decision on remand that found that only two tenants occupied the subject unit at commencement of petitioner's tenancy. Neither party challenges this finding. Instead, the landlord challenges the finding made in the initial hearing examiner decision that there has been a decrease in the occupancy level of the subject unit. Petitioner challenges the prior determination of the unit's base occupancy level. There is no evidence in the record to support the landlord's claim that petitioner always shared the unit with another tenant, i.e., there was no decrease in the occupancy level. Similarly, petitioner cites no evidence that warrants modifying the determination that the base occupancy level of the unit was three people or the determination that the unit was occupied by two tenants at the commencement of petitioner's tenancy. Accordingly, the decision of the hearing examiner should be affirmed.

7. Information and Announcements

Please Note: The Board may elect to take action on items listed as informational.

a. Reports and information from Board Members/staff.

(1) September 2003 Newsletter to owners and tenants [PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.]

b. Committee meeting announcements and reports. (Committee meetings will be held at the Rent Board Offices located at 2001 Center Street, 2nd Floor, Law Library unless otherwise noted.)

(1) Budget/Personnel

(2) Outreach 

(a) Agenda: September 10, 2003 meeting. 

(b) Minutes: August 20, 2003.

(3) Eviction - Next meeting tentatively scheduled for September 29th

(4) IRA/AGA - Next meeting: Tuesday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m. 

(a) Agenda: September 16, 2003 meeting.

(5) 3 x 3

c. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda material

9. Adjournment