Author: Joseph Tobener

Illegal Units

03, Wednesday 2010

Certificate of Occupancy Even though a unit does not have a certificate of occupancy, it is still covered under local rent control. The landlord cannot increase the rent more than the allowable amount, and the tenant cannot be evicted without good cause. Demolition Under most local rent ordinances, a landlord can evict tenants to demolish […]

Utility Shut-Offs

05, Sunday 2010

Causes of Action for Shut-Off Where a landlord shuts off or interrupts utilities intending to terminate occupancy, a tenant has causes of action against the landlord for (1) breach of contract, (2) negligence, (3) violation of statutory protections under Civil Code section 789.3, (4) wrongful eviction, and (5) violations of local rent control ordinance, where […]


05, Sunday 2010

Foreclosure in Rent Control Versus Non-Rent Control Jurisdiction Tenant rights in foreclosure hinge on whether your unit is in a rent-controlled or non-rent-controlled jurisdiction. If you live in a property in Berkeley, Hayward, San Francisco, or Oakland, you need to first determine if you are covered by the eviction protection portion of your rent control […]

Security Deposits

05, Sunday 2010

Statute on Refunds Security deposit issues are governed by state law.  Under Civil Code section 1950.5, a landlord may collect up to two month’s rent for deposits on unfurnished apartments and three months for furnished apartments.  There is no such thing as a non-refundable security deposit.  Any money paid over the amount of the first […]

Negotiating Tenant Buyouts

02, Thursday 2010

Over just the last decade alone, our firm has represented 100s of tenants in buyout negotiations in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.  We do not take this role lightly, realizing that each person we are representing is losing a rent-controlled home.  We take a very individualized approach to buyouts, taking into account the impact on […]

Fires, Floods & Disasters

02, Thursday 2010

Landlord Negligence and Right to Return – Fire, Flood or Disaster If a landlord’s wrongful or negligent act causes a fire, a tenant may recover medical bills, moving costs, rent for a replacement apartment, and loss of property.  See Civil Code § 1714.  A tenant has two years to file a claim for damage or […]

Student Housing

30, Monday 2010

Rights in Student Housing Rent Control Statutes Exclude Dormitories Typically, rent control ordinances do not cover on-campus, university housing.  For example, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance states that the term “rental units” does not include dorms owned by colleges and universities.  San Francisco Administrative Code § 37.2(a)(3).  Similarly, the City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization and […]

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