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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.

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Health, Housing & Community Services Department
Health, Housing & Community Services Department

Ronald V. Dellums Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance 

On March 10, 2020, Berkeley City Council passed the “Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance”. It is prohibited to use criminal history and/or criminal background checks in the tenant selection process for rental housing.  

An overview of the ordinance is available below. Please review the ordinance for more specific details related to your property or tenancy.  

It is unlawful to do any of the following with regard to current or prospective tenants:

  • Inquire about criminal history
  • Indicate that persons with criminal backgrounds will not be considered for housing, including in rental advertisements, application materials, or verbally
  • Refuse to rent or terminate a tenancy based on criminal history
  • Require disclosure or authorization for release of criminal history
  • Demand higher security deposit or rental amount based on criminal history
  • Refuse to allow the addition of an immediate family member based on the family member’s criminal history
  • Disqualify tenants from rental assistance programs such as Section 8 based on criminal history (subject to certain exceptions below)
  • Take any other negative action against applicants/tenants based on criminal history

Exceptions
Please view the ordinance on specific requirements for each exemption.

  • Lifetime Sex Offenders
  • Public Housing/Section 8 properties
  • Owner-occupied small private rentals (1-3 units)

Written Notice and Opportunity to Respond Required
If a landlord takes any action against an applicant or tenant based on criminal history (such as refusing to offer a lease, refusing to add a family member, etc.), the landlord is required to provide the applicant/tenant with written notice and an opportunity to respond.

This is due to the fact that criminal background checks and reporting services frequently provide inaccurate or incomplete information.

Civil and Criminal Penalties
Any landlord found to be in violation of the Ordinance shall be subject to administrative fines of at least $1,000 and up to $10,000 per violation, civil damages including three times the greater of actual damages or one month's rent, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and injunctive relief. Any housing provider who knowingly and willfully violates the Ordinance shall also be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor.

Resources

The City is preparing the required materials for landlords to provide to all tenants and applicants. Please subscribe to the City’s listserv to be notified when these materials are available.

Materials will be available in Spanish and Chinese.

 

 

 

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