Frequently Asked Questions
These subjects address many of the most common questions Housing Department staff address:
Berkeley Housing Authority
Facing Foreclosure (Property owners)
Facing Foreclosure (Multi-family tenants)
Is the City of Berkeley Housing Department also the Berkeley Housing Authority?
No. The Berkeley Housing Authority manages the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program and owns and manages Low-Income Public Housing here in Berkeley. It is not a part of the City of Berkeley.
How do I contact the Berkeley Housing Authority?
You may reach the Berkeley Housing Authority through its website, www.cityofberkeley.info/BHA, or by calling (510) 981-5470. BHA offices are located at 1901 Fairview Street, near Adeline Street, a one-block walk south on Adeline Street from the Ashby BART station in south Berkeley.
How do I find out about affordable housing resources in Berkeley?
The City of Berkeley has assembled the following resource list for locating and applying for affordable housing. Please contact the property manager directly for information.The City of Berkeley also helps fund the 2-1-1 service to provide people with information about housing opportunities county-wide. 2-1-1 is a free, non-emergency, confidential, 3-digit phone number and service that provides easy access to housing information, and critical health and human services. 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with multi-lingual capabilities. This service can be reached by dialing 2-1-1. It is free from pay phones. It may not work from some cell phones and office phone systems. If it doesn't work on your phone or you don't live in Alameda County and want information on services in Alameda County, dial this toll-free number: 888-886-9660. Outside California, call 510-727-9560.
Back to Top
I’m homeless, and I need shelter and emergency services in Berkeley. What can I do, and where can I go for help?
Berkeley offers many options for people who have become homeless and need assistance to return to self-sufficiency. These resources can help you get started:
- The Berkeley Information Network (BIN) on the Berkeley Public Library’s web site has resource lists for printing at its web site. There you can find out about meal programs, shelters, drop-in centers, and showers. Through shelters you may also be able to arrange for storage of your possessions.
- The Berkeley Housing Department provides a list of available services similar to the BIN list, but includes referrals to agencies providing permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and alcohol and other drug services. Please click on this link, Homeless Services, for a list of emergency services.
- Eden Information & Referral is a vital resource based in Hayward that can provide you with affordable housing listings and assistance and service referrals. They serve all of Alameda County and may be reached by phone as well by dialing 211.
My landlord has given me an eviction notice. Whom can I contact for assistance on what to do?
For assistance with your rights when faced with eviction, the Berkeley community has a number of resources available to help: The City of Berkeley has a Housing Retention Program that may be able to assist you in paying back rent owed. The goal of the program is to assist Berkeley residents from being evicted and becoming homeless due to a temporary financial setback that has prevented them from paying rent. If you meet the eligibility criteria you should contact a participating agency to provide you with further assistance.
Other resources for assistance with addressing eviction issues include:
- The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Program provides counseling services to tenants and landlords dealing with eviction proceedings.
- The East Bay Community Law Center at 2921 Adeline Street, Berkeley. Their phone number is (510) 548-4040. EBCLC’s mission is to provide affordable legal services to the low-income community in Berkeley and the greater East Bay in the areas of housing, welfare, HIV & health, homelessness and economic development.
- The Eviction Defense Center at 1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 726 (near 16th Street) in Oakland. Their phone number is (510) 452-4541.
Back to Top
I am a homeowner and have received a notice of default from my mortgage lender. What rights do I have, and what should I do?
There are a series of legal steps that a lender must take before a property is foreclosed. Get the facts! Contact your mortgage servicer or lender (whomever you normally make your payment to each month). If you cannot reach your lender, or need your options clarified call the HOPENOW hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE to speak with a credit counselor at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If the foreclosure process has started, you may have rights to negotiate with the lender. Depending on your ability to sustain the debt you currently have been paying, and make the new payments on time, you may be able to negotiate a workout plan during the foreclosure proceedings.
If you were promised when you originally obtained your mortgage loan that you would be able to refinance, you should contact your lender immediately about refinancing the debt on your house. Interest rates have come down some in the last six months.
YOU SHOULD AVOID RESCUE SCAMS. They may get your address and contact information because foreclosures are public information. Do not refinance into another adjustable rate mortgage or other non-fixed rate loan product. It might postpone, but would not solve your credit problem. Call the HOPENOW hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE or see the web site at www.hopenow.com.
I am a tenant in a multi-family building, and I have been given an eviction notice or notice of a rent increase because the building is entering foreclosure. What rights do I have, and what should I do?
Foreclosure or sale of a building is not a lawful reason to evict tenants or raise the rent in the City of Berkeley. You have rights! For questions about rent increases and eviction proceedings, call the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Program at (510) 981-RENT (981-7368). Also see the referrals under Frequently Asked Question #5 above.
The City of Berkeley Good Cause for Eviction Ordinance states that a landlord must have a good cause to evict a tenant. Eviction resulting from foreclosure is not a good cause for eviction. While a bank or mortgage company becomes the new owner, the situation is no different from the situation in which a building owner sells the property to someone else. In either case, the fact that someone else owns the building is not a lawful reason to evict a tenant.
If there is a foreclosure, your rent payment cannot be increased without approval of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.
If you paid rent to the prior landlord before being notified that there has been a foreclosure, you should be given credit for the rent payment. It is YOUR responsibility to prove you paid the rent. Always insist on getting a receipt from your landlord.