Berkeley Tenant Lawyers

Generally, all buildings in Berkeley with two or more units built before June 30, 1980 have eviction and rent increase limitations. Rental units built after June 30, 1980 are exempt from the rent ceiling portion of the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. These units still have eviction protection.

Two unit buildings where one unit has been occupied by at least a fifty percent owner since December 31, 1979 do not have eviction protection or rent limitations. Similarly, where the owner lives with a tenant, there are no eviction protection or rent limitations.

The City of Berkeley requires landlords to register residential units with the city. In fact, most landlords must certify that their units are habitable by submitting a habitability checklist before July 1 each year. A copy of the habitability checklist must be provided to the tenant.

Where a tenant has been in a unit since January 1, 1996, the lawful rent ceiling is the base rent plus rent increases allowed by the Rent Board, generally sixty-five percent of the Consumer Price Index.  For a unit rented out after January 1, 1996, the landlord can increase the rent to market value as soon as a unit becomes vacant. The landlord can then increase the rent annually by sixty-five percent of the Consumer Price Index.

A landlord cannot establish a new rental rate after a vacancy if the landlord (1) served a 30-day notice of termination on the previous tenant; (2) changed the terms of the tenancy on the last tenant; (3) failed to repair or harassed the prior tenant; (4) opted out of a Section 8 housing or (5) failed to correct citations by a governmental agency for serious health, safety, fire, or building code violations.

Berkeley requires landlords to have good cause to evict a tenant. The most common causes are (1) non-payment, (2) breach of lease, (3) waste or willful damage to unit, (4) refusal to sign the exact same lease after expiration of fixed term lease, (5) nuisance to other tenants, (6) refusal to allow landlord access, (7) temporary relocation for housing violations, (8) demolition, (9) owner move-in or relative move-in, (10) owner or master tenant seeks move back into a subleased unit, and (11) a tenant engages in unlawful activity on the premises.

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