Berkeley Rent Control Codified By
The Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance

In 1980, Ted Turner started the first cable news network,  Pac-Man was the bomb, and Daniel Bornstein was at the arcade playing it.
It was also the year the citizens of Berkeley passed the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. It remains to this day, with many updates that were condensed in the 2017 PDF version on the website.
When landlord-tenant disputes hit a brick wall, it ends up before the Rent Stabilization Board, tasked with carrying out the Ordinance. As we noted in an earlier post, the Costa-Hawkins Act exempts certain properties from the oversight of the Board.
All other landlords are subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. If only it was that simple. There are two distinct protections:one that regulates the amount of rent a landlord can raise and the other that regulates reasons for evicting a tenant.Collectively, these rules are known as Berkeley Rent Control.
The confusing part? There are certain rental units that are given eviction protection while also  having no caps on increased rents. Still other units are afforded both eviction and rent increase protections, while remaining units have no protection. It’s easy to see why Berkeley landlords are well-advised to consult with a Berkeley landlord-tenant attorney to ascertain where their property even falls on the spectrum.
The year the building was constructed, the number of units, date of occupancy, and ownership stakes are but some of the dizzying factors to consider.
Rental property owners can raise the rent once a year, but only to the tune of 65% of the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index, or CPI. (view our post where we maintain the CPI is not a good barometer).
As part of the Berkeley Ordinance, landlords can only evict based on “just cause.” Some examples of this are, failing to pay the rent, damaging the unit, creating a nuisance for neighboring tenants, or otherwise being culpable of an overt act – all permissible reasons to evict are delineated here.
Notably, Berkeley is especially strict on Owner Move- In Evictions (OMI Evictions), so if you are contemplating the transition of tenants out of your property for your own personal use, please consult with the landlord attorneys at Bornstein Law.
We’d be remiss not to point out that retaliatory evictions are illegal under the Berkeley Rent Ordinance, and we’ve had to defend several actions of these type of suits lodged by enterprising tenants and their attorneys. The takeaway for Berkeley landlords? Don’t go it alone – you need legal guidance.

Rent control applies in some form or fashion in the following locales.


» San Francisco
» Oakland
» Berkeley
» San Jose
» Emeryville
» Alameda
» Hayward
» Richmond
» Mountain View


For informed advice when controversies arise in your rent controled unit, reach out to Bornstein Law. 

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