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.

Translation Disclaimer


Commercial leases during COVID-19

Information and resources for tenants

Berkeley’s COVID-19 emergency response ordinance allows both residential and commercial tenants who have been impacted by COVID-19 to defer rent payments during the local state of emergency.

The ordinance does not permanently absolve tenants from their rent obligations. After the emergency ends, tenants who defer rent will still owe the back rent to their landlord unless they are able to negotiate new lease terms.

Deferred rent

Businesses and non-profits can qualify for deferred rent if they:

  • had to close due to COVID-19
  • have had to reduce operations to limited virtual, take-out, or pickup services only
  • have suffered a material loss of income

Impacted tenants will have twelve months after the local state of emergency ends to pay back the rent they owe. Landlords may not charge late fees, fines, or interest on deferred rent during this period.

To qualify for deferred rent, tenants should notify their landlord no more than 7 days after rent is due. A simple written notification via email or mail is sufficient. Tenants do not need to provide documentation showing how the business was impacted by the pandemic in advance. However, it is important to save documentation such as bank statements or records of closure, as landlords may request this information when the state of emergency is over.

Personal liability protection

Individual business owners who were forced to close or limit capacity due to the pandemic are protected from personal liability for unpaid rent during the pandemic.

In Berkeley, landlords may not enforce personal liability provisions in commercial leases for rent or other charges a business was not able to pay between March 16, 2020 and July 30, 2021 due to being forced to close, limit capacity, or incur other costs as a result of COVID-19 emergency restrictions.

Legal resources for commercial tenants and landlords

The City cannot provide legal advice on lease negotiations. The organizations below may be able provide legal assistance or referrals.

For information on negotiating a percentage based rent or other rental fee structures that take into account earnings and landlord/tenant costs, see a webinar on Retail and restaurant lease negotiations during COVID-19 hosted by Northern California Small Business Development Centers.

Last updated September 30, 2021

Questions? Contact covid19@cityofberkeley.info.

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