Tobener Ravenscroft

Hayward Rent Control

What units are covered under the Hayward Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance?

A landlord must own at least five units in the City of Hayward for the Hayward Rent Ordinance to apply.  It can be any kind of common ownership and any percentage of ownership.  A landlord cannot set up LLCs or corporations to hide the common ownership.

The following units are not part of rent control and do not count against a landlord’s five-unit minimum:

  1. Accommodations in hospitals, extended care facilities, and dormitories;
  2. Publically funded housing projects;
  3. All units built after July 1, 1979;
  4. Accommodations in motels, hotels, inns, tourist houses, rooming houses, and boarding houses, unless occupied for more than thirty days; and
  5. Cooperative housing owned by a majority of the residents.

Are single family homes covered by the Hayward Rent Ordinance?

Under a state law known as Costa-Hawkins, a tenant who rents a single family home after January 1, 1996 cannot be covered by the rent protection portion of any rent ordinance.  The tenant would still have eviction protection under the ordinance.  If the tenant moved into the single family home before January 1, 1996, the tenant has rent protection and eviction protection.  A single family home counts toward the five-unit minimum whether rented before or after 1996.

How much can a landlord increase the rent under the Hayward Rent Ordinance?

Landlords may only increase the rent by 5% per year on the anniversary date of the lease.

Can a landlord bank past rent increases?

Where a landlord has not increased the rent for a number of years, the landlord can bank the rent increases, up to a maximum of 10% per year.

What information does the landlord have to provide with the notice of rent increase?

Under the Hayward Rent Ordinance, a rent increase is void if the landlord fails to provide the following with the notice:

  1. The amount of the rent increase in both dollars and as a percentage of existing rent;
  2. A statement that the rent increase is consistent with the rent ordinance;
  3. A summary of past rent increases;
  4. The identity of all other affected tenants and the units which they rent;
  5. The address and telephone number of the Rent Review Officer and the fact that the tenant is encouraged to call;
  6. The telephone number of the landlord or management company in charge of providing the notice of rent increase; and
  7. A blank petition to dispute the rent increase.

What is the process to challenge illegal rental amounts?

To challenge an illegal rent increase, a tenant may file a Petition for Rent Review with the Hayward Rent Review Officer.  If a landlord is failing to make repairs or has taken away a housing service, such as parking, a tenant may file a Reduction in Housing Services Petition to have the monthly rent reset.  The hearing officer may also order return of rent paid.

A Petition for Rent Review must be filed within 30 days of receipt of an unlawful rent increase.

When can the landlord increase the rent beyond the maximums allowed by the Hayward Rent Ordinance? 

A landlord may increase the monthly rent to market value when all tenants have voluntarily vacated a unit.  Once the unit is occupied by new tenants, the rent may only be increased by the maximum percentages allowable under the ordinance.  A landlord may not increase the rent if the prior tenants were forced to vacate due to a landlord’s failure to maintain the premises in good repair.

Following a voluntary vacancy by all tenants, a landlord may permanently exempt a unit from the rent limitations of the Hayward Rent Ordinance by making major improvements to the unit valued in excess of $1,000 for one-bedroom units, $1,500 for two-bedroom units, and $2,000 for three-bedroom units.  The landlord must also bring the unit up to code and file a 30-day notice with the Hayward Rent Review Officer.

Can I file a civil lawsuit against a landlord who illegally increases my rent?

Under the Hayward Rent Ordinance, a tenant may sue a landlord in Alameda County Superior Court for three times the amount of any illegal rent increase if the trier of fact finds that the landlord acted willfully or with oppression, fraud or malice.

Does a landlord have to pay interest on security deposits in Hayward?

All landlords are required to pay interest on security deposits in Hayward.  The annual percentage is set by the Hayward Rent Review Officer.  The interest must be either sent to the tenant annually or credited against the rent.

Does the Hayward Rent Ordinance have eviction protection?

There are only 15 reasons that a tenant can be evicted from a rent-controlled unit in Hayward:

  1. Failure to pay rent;
  2. Breach of lease;
  3. Willful and substantial damage to the unit;
  4. Refusal to sign a new lease that is materially the same as the original lease;
  5. Nuisance;
  6. Preventing landlord access;
  7. Temporary eviction for capital improvements necessary to bring unit into code compliance;
  8. Demolition of the unit after receiving permits from City;
  9. Owner move-in or relative move-in;
  10. Owner move-in pursuant to lease provision allowing owner to move in;
  11. Illegal activity by tenant;
  12. Illegal drug activity;
  13. Breach of reasonable rules and regulations;
  14. Lawful termination of tenant employment as resident manager; and
  15. Tenant threat of harm to others

Are there any civil penalties for wrongful eviction in the Hayward Rent Ordinance?

Unfortunately, unlike other rent ordinances in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Hayward Rent Ordinance does not have any special civil penalties where a landlord has wrongfully evicted a tenant.  The Hayward Rent Ordinance does provide that the failure to give a proper eviction notice with one of the enumerated 15 just causes would be a defense to an eviction lawsuit.  Also, the City has discretion to levy fines against a landlord who fails to comply with the law.

Even without special civil penalties, the damages for constructive or wrongful eviction are still quite good.  The damages are the market rent for the unit less the rent-controlled rent times the number of years the tenant reasonably expected to stay in the unit.  For example, where a tenant is forced out of a unit where the tenant was paying $2,000/month for a rent-controlled apartment worth $3,000/month, the tenant will be allowed to recoup $1,000 for every month the tenant expected to live in the unit.  Appraisers and economists are used to calculate the market rental value.   At least one court has allowed recovery for twenty years of projected rent.  Chacon v. Litke, 181 Cal. App. 4th 1234 (2010).

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