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New Rent Control Laws Strengthen Tenant’s Rights in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Mountain View

California voters create numerous new rent control laws

After the November 8, 2016 election, voters in Oakland, Richmond, and Mountain View have successfully amended or created some form of rent stabilization or eviction protection legislation.

New Oakland Rent Ordinance Amendment

Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance and Rent Adjustment Ordinance has been amended by Measure JJ to require landlords to file a petition with the Rent Adjustment Program prior to any rent increases above the Consumer Price Index and has expanded the Just Cause Eviction Protections for buildings built before 1996. The new amendments will go into effect on February 1, 2017.

Pursuant to the new law, tenants living in rental units constructed and approved for occupancy before December 31, 1995 are afforded protection from evictions without “just cause.” A landlord can no longer claim an exemption for rental units built after October 14, 1980, and a tenant cannot be evicted without “just cause.”

A tenant is no longer required to pay any rent increases beyond the Consumer Price Index without the landlord first seeking approval through a petition.

New Richmond Rent Ordinance

Currently, the City of Richmond’s Municipal Code does not set a maximum allowable rent increase, and there are no established limitations on the termination of tenancies. A landlord is able to serve eviction notices without “just cause” and impose rent increases on any tenant. In order to address this problem, Measure L was recently passed that creates the Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance (“Ordinance”).

Pursuant to the new Ordinance, rents of apartments built before 1995 cannot be raised more than 3%, based on the Consumer Price Index. Further, the Ordinance will prevent landlords from evicting tenants without “just cause.” A tenant may seek monetary compensation and file a civil suit against any landlord violating the Ordinance. Further, the new law provides relocation payments to certain tenants under the Ordinance.

New Mountain View Rent Ordinance Amendment

The voters of Mountain View have passed Measure V to regulate rent increases in the city. Prior to Measure V, the City of Mountain View did not regulate the amount of rent a landlord could charge. Thus, a landlord was able to impose a significant rent increase in an attempt to evict a tenant out of their home. The new law is designed to limit a landlord’s ability to increase rent and evict tenants. For instance, a landlord is prevented from raising the rent in any year more than the percentage allowed by the Consumer Price Index. A landlord is no longer able to increase rent if repairs are outstanding or maintenance work is not properly performed. A tenant can seek a rent adjustment with the City’s rental housing committee when a landlord fails to provide habitable premises. Finally, the new law prevents evictions without “just cause” in multifamily rental units built before February 1, 1995.

New Berkeley Rent Ordinance Amendment

Measure AA will amend Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance (“Ordinance”) and provide stronger tenant protections related to owner move-ins.

Prior to the amendment, the Ordinance required landlords to provide relocation assistance of $4,500 to low-income tenants. In other words, a tenant that was not classified as low-income could not receive any payments for owner move-ins. The new law will require landlords to pay $15,000 to all tenant households evicted for owner move-ins. Further, if a tenant is classified as low-income, disabled, elderly, or with minor children, a tenant can seek an additional $5,000.00 with the City’s Rent Board.

Additionally, an owner is no longer able to evict a family with minor children during the academic year. In order to protect a child’s right to education, an owner is prevented from taking any actions related to owner move-ins until the academic year is over. The new law also modifies the term “residential rental units” to “residential units” in Section 13.76.130A.9.k.(i) of the Ordinance. This modification protects elderly and/or disabled tenants who have occupied the rental unit for five or more years from owner move-in evictions if their landlord owns at least 3 residential units in Berkeley.

For more information about your tenant rights under these new Bay Area laws protecting tenants, please contact Michael Bracamontes or Ryan Vlasak of BV Law at 415-835-6777.