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Rent Stabilization Board
Rent Stabilization Board

Full Agenda Packet (PDF)

Regular Meeting

 Thursday, August 15, 2019
    7:00 p.m. 

NEW Location:
Berkeley Unified School District Board Room 
1231 Addison Street 
Broadcast Live – KPFB – 89.3 
(N. Berkeley) and BTV Cable Channel 33

Teleconference location: 2003 Stuart Street, Berkeley, CA 94703

This meeting will be conducted in accordance with the Brown Act, CA Government Code Section 54953(b)(2), and Teleconferencing. Any member of the public may attend this meeting at either location. Questions regarding this matter may be addressed to Jay Kelekian, Executive Director and Secretary to the Board, (510) 981-7368.

Video Archive (2:01)  

6:45 p.m.  Prior to the public meeting, the Board will convene in Closed Session. 

CLOSED SESSION – Pursuant to California Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1), the Board will convene in closed session for an update on litigation: 

Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (Alameda County Superior Court, Case No. RG19018001)

NCR Properties, LLC v. City of Berkeley, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court, Case No. RG19024268)

2504 Dana Street, LLC v. City of Berkeley, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court, Case No. RG19028640)


 Many of the links below lead to PDF files that require Adobe Acrobat Reader to be installed on your computer. 
You can download Acrobat Reader for free

*Times allotted for each item are approximate and may be changed at the Board’s discretion during the course of this meeting.

1. Roll call – 1 min.*

2. Approval of Agenda – 2 min.*

3. Public Forum – 3 min. allotted per speaker*

4. CONSENT ITEMS – 1 min.*
5. APPEAL – 8:00 p.m.** Case No. IRD-145 (1921 Delaware Street, Unit #5)
** This appeal will not be heard before 8:00 p.m. but may be heard any time thereafter.

Landlord Petitioner appeals a hearing examiner decision that found that the tenant permanently resided in Berkeley, and therefore the landlord is not entitled to a Costa Hawkins rent adjustment. The landlord claimed in the petition and at the hearing that the tenant has not resided in Berkeley since marrying in 2009, and he permanently resides at his wife’s home in Richmond. The tenant concedes that he eats dinner, sleeps, and eats breakfast in Richmond, but argues that his daily activities are conducted in Berkeley. The hearing examiner ruled that the tenant continues to permanently reside in the subject rental unit. On appeal, the landlord argues that the decision is not supported by the facts and evidence because the evidence was unreliable and the findings of fact do not support the legal conclusion that “the tenant continues to actually occupy the unit” or any other legal standard for residency.

A review of the record establishes that the factual basis of hearing examiner’s decision is supported by substantial evidence, and any doubt as to the relative weight of the evidence should be resolved by deference to the hearing examiner’s judgment as to credibility and persuasiveness of the witnesses and exhibits. However, Appellant is correct that the decision fails to properly apply the legal standard of residency to the factual findings rendered in the decision. Rent Board precedent in two prior appeals with similar facts requires more than mere intent to reserve the unit for non-residential use, or as a contingency for future residential use. The life activities identified by the hearing examiner are insufficient to establish residency in a way that is consistent with prior Rent Board appeal decisions. For this reason, legal staff recommends that the decision of the hearing examiner be reversed.

a. From Board Members, Executive Director and Committees
(1) Discussion and possible action regarding proposed amendment to Regulation 503 [Definition of Principal Residence] – First Reading (IRA/AGA/Registration Committee) – 15 min.*  

(2) Discussion and possible action concerning the selection and appointment to fill the vacancy on the Rent Board (Ad Hoc Committee to Fill the Board Vacancy) – 30 min.*

(3) Discussion and possible action regarding proposed amendments to streamline various Rent Board regulations – First Reading (IRA/AGA/Registration Committee) – 10 min.*

(4) Recommendation to adopt proposed changes to the Rent Board Staffing Model  (Executive Director) - 10 min.* Distributed at the meeting


Please Note: The Board may move Information Items to the Action Calendar.
a. Reports from Board Members/Staff
(1) Update on annual registration billing and Online Payment and Registration activity for the 2019-2020 fiscal year – Verbal (Executive Director) – 3 min.*

(2) July 23, 2019 City Council Information Calendar agenda item titled, “Report on B.M.C. 13.79.050 (“Buyout Offers and Agreements”) (Executive Director) – 2 min.*

(3) Update on recent and upcoming Rent Board outreach events (Executive Director) – 3 min.*

(4) Updated Rent Board Regulation Appendices B, C, and D (Executive Director) – 2 min.*
(5) July 19, 2019 communication to Alisa Shen, Project Manager with the City of Berkeley’s Planning & Development Department, regarding the Adeline Corridor Specific Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Review (Chair Laverde) – 1 min.*

(6) June 2019 WNYC Studios’ On the Media four-part series produced by Eve Claxton, Jon Hanrahan and Katherine Simon titled, “The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis” (Chair Laverde) – 1 min.*  

(7) June 20, 2019 City of Hayward news release titled, “Hayward To Limit Rent Increases In Overhaul of Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.* 

(8) June 26, 2019 East Bay Citizen article by Steven Tavares titled, “Hayward approves short-term moratorium on rent increases above 5%” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

(9) July 1, 2019 Berkeleyside article by Frances Dinkelspiel titled, “With the resignation of Commissioner Christina Murphy, Rent Stabilization Board to appoint new member” (Chair Laverde) – 1 min.*

(10) July 3, 2019 East Bay Citizen article by Steven Tavares titled, “Alameda places 2.8 percent cap on annual rent increases” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

(11) July 3, 2019 East Bay Express article by Jean Tepperman titled, “That Old Gas Stove Is Not Your Friend” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

(12) July 16, 2019 The New York Review of Books article by Michael Greenberg titled, “A Historic Win for New York Tenants” (Commissioner Chang) – 1 min.*

(13) July 24, 2019 article by Rick Paulas titled, “Inside the Wildly Popular Forum Where Landlords Plot to Screw You Over” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

(14) July 31, 2019 article by Joe Eskenazi titled, “Anne Kihagi, city’s ‘cruelest landlord,’ has last of her known San Francisco properties wrested from her control” (Executive Director) – 1 min.*

(15) July 31, 2019 Berkeleyside article by Natalie Orenstein titled, “’No Section 8: How a Berkeley fair-housing law falls short” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

(16) August 5, 2019 The Mercury News article by Marisa Kendall titled, “Oakland landlords lose courtroom battle, after paying $6,500 to move back into their house” (Commissioner Tregub) – 1 min.*

a. Budget and Personnel – 2 min.*

b. Eviction/Section 8/Foreclosure – 5 min.
c. Habitable & Sustainable Housing (HASH) – 5 min.*
d. IRA, AGA and Registration – 5 min.
e. Outreach – 2 min.*
f. 4 x 4 Joint Committee on Housing: City Council/Rent Board – 5 min.*
g. Ad Hoc Committee on Technology Issues – 2 min.*
h. Ad Hoc Committee to Fill the Board Vacancy – 5 min.*
i. 2 x 2 x 2 Committee on Housing: Council / Rent Board / BUSD – 1 min.*
j. Updates and Announcements regarding future Special Meetings – 2 min.*
k. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda – 3 min.* 

This meeting is being held in a wheelchair-accessible location. To request disability-related accommodation(s) to participate in the meeting, including auxiliary aids or services, please contact Aimee Mueller at 981-4932 or 981-6903 (TDD) at least three business days before the meeting date
Please refrain from wearing scented products to this meeting.

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Rent Stabilization Board, 2125 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7368
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903