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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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Rent Stabilization Board
Rent Stabilization Board

NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING RENTAL PROPERTIES
 

RECENT RENT BOARD REGULATION CHANGES 

To see recent changes in Rent Board regulations, visit the Rent Board Regulation Changes Archive page.

The full text of all Rent Board Regulations may be viewed at the Rent Board Regulations page or in the Board’s Public Information Unit at 2125 Milvia Street weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. except for Wednesdays when the hours are noon to 6:30 p.m.  


RECENT STATE OR LOCAL LAW CHANGES 

New Registration Requirements for Partially Covered Units: Measure MM (passed by Berkeley voters in 2020) requires rented single-family homes, rented condominiums, and newly constructed rental units to be registered with the Rent Board. These units are exempt from rent control, but not from the good cause for eviction requirements. Registration generally includes an annual fee and the filing of registration forms.  The Registration requirements do not apply to landlords who only own a single-family home and who will be temporarily absent from it for not more than two years, provided they live in the home for one year before renting it out, and the period of absence is specified in the lease.

ADU Exemption: Measure MM also clarified that the full exemption for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) only applies to properties that contain one single-family home, and one ADU.

Berkeley Eviction Moratorium: The City of Berkeley declared a local state of emergency and passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Ordinance in March 2020, banning evictions except for those pursuant to the Ellis Act or necessary for the health and safety of the residents. An amendment prohibiting Ellis Act evictions will go into effect on April 1, 2022. The law establishes a repayment period to pay back rent owed due to COVID-19. (This time period was altered by state law). Tenants have until May 31, 2023, or one year from when the local state of emergency ends, whichever is sooner, to pay back rent owed from March 17, 2020, to September 30, 2021, due to COVID-19. The law is subject to change, as with other emergency rules and laws addressing the COVID-19 crisis, so check the Rent Board's COVID-19 Page for updates.

State Law Limiting Evictions Due to COVID-19:State law (AB 3088, SB 91, and AB 832) prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants who are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19-related financial distress. Among other things, landlords must provide a minimum 15-day eviction notice with a declaration form a tenant can use to confirm if the unpaid rent was due to COVID-19. Tenants must return the declaration to be protected. More documentation may be required for tenants earning more than 130% of the county median household income. This eviction protection will expire after September 30, 2021.  In addition, tenants must pay back at least 25% of the rent they owe between September 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, no later than September 30, 2021, to be protected from eviction. Unpaid rent that cannot serve as a basis to evict may be claimed as consumer debt by the landlord and recovered in small claims court after the repayment period ends as provided under the local state of emergency (see above).  The law is subject to change, as with other emergency rules and laws addressing the COVID-19 crisis, so check the Rent Board's COVID-19 Page for updates.

Emergency Regulation 1017.5:  Amended emergency regulation that permits landlords and tenants to agree to rent reductions during the local COVID-19 State of Emergency without reducing the lawful rent ceiling. Adjusts the operative date to September 1, 2020, to allow tenancies that began on or before that date to be covered by the provisions of this regulation. The amendments also make clear that the agreed-upon reduced rent is deemed permanently waived, so landlords may not later demand it as unpaid rent. Amended August 28, 2020.  Template 1017.5 Agreement

Increased Ellis/OMI Payments: The standard relocation assistance payment to tenants for Ellis Act and Owner Move-in (OMI) evictions increased from $16,084 to $16,341, with the additional payment of $5,361 increased to $5,447 for low-income, disabled, elderly, families with minor children, or tenancies that began prior to 1999.

Amendment to Regulation 704 (Security Deposit Interest Rule): As amended in September 2019, a tenant who has not received interest accrued on the security deposit by January 31 for any prior years may deduct the interest from rent. The tenant may deduct at the rate of 10% simple interest for the immediately preceding year, and at the Federal Reserve rate for any years before that. The amended rule removed a requirement that the tenant was to provide written notice to the landlord before taking the deduction.

B.M.C. Chapter 13.106: Fair Chance Housing Ordinance.  Prohibits the use of criminal history in housing decisions.

Amendments to B.M.C Chapter 13.78: Amended to prohibit non-refundable application fees associated with existing tenancies, and lease termination fees.  (Effective 5/30/2020)

AB 1110: Longer Notice for Large Rent Increases Starting January 1, 2020, landlords must give at least 90 days' notice for rent increases greater than 10%.  AB 1110 increased the notice period, which was previously 60 days.  State law remains unchanged for rent increases of 10% or less, in which at least 30 days' notice is required.

AB 1482: Statewide Anti-Rent Gouging and Just Cause Eviction Protections. Effective January 1, 2020, AB 1482 limits annual rent increases to 5% plus inflation and requires just cause to evict tenants who have lived in their unit for at least one year. The state law does not override local rent controls with stronger protections, like the Berkeley Rent Ordinance. The statewide rent cap does not apply to certain units, including those that are less than 15 years old, single-family homes owned by a natural person, owner-occupied duplexes, and government-subsidized housing (e.g. Section 8, Shelter Plus Care). Accordingly, some units that are partially or fully exempt from the Berkeley Rent Ordinance will be subject to the statewide rent cap. These include single-family homes that are owned by certain corporate entities and units that were built after 1980, but more than 15 years ago. 

Housing Discrimination Based on Source of Income: On July 25, 2017, the City of Berkeley passed legislation to prohibit landlords from discriminating based on a tenant’s or prospective tenant’s source of income. Under the new law, source of income includes governmental rental assistance and Section 8 vouchers.  SB 329passed in October of 2019, similarly clarifies state law by including Section 8 voucher holders as a protected class. 

 

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