RENT STABILIZATION BOARD
Regular Meeting

Monday, August 16, 2004
7 p.m.

2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Council Chambers, Berkeley, CA.
Broadcast Live - KPFB - 89.3 FM
BTV Cable Channel 33

AGENDA

1. Roll Call - 6:30 p.m. Closed Session; 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting

2. Closed Session pursuant to Government Code section 54957.6 

CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATOR

Board Negotiator: Commissioner Chong (appointed in open session at July 8, 2004 regular meeting.)

3. Approval of the Agenda

4. Public Forum

5. Approval of the MinutesMinutes of July 8, 2004 regular meeting.

6. Appeal - Time Certain 7:30 p.m.

a. Appeal T-4408; 2407 Dowling Place #2. This is a landlord appeal of a hearing examiner decision, which awarded rent overcharges for numerous defects in the condition of the rental unit, including the impairment of use that occurred when the unit's bathroom was remodeled. On appeal, the landlord seeks an additional hearing and argues that no rent reduction should be granted for the time the bathroom was under repair because the tenants had been informed of the pending construction work when they agreed to rent the unit. Appellant has identified no new evidence that was not or could not have been presented at the original hearing. Thus, there is no reason for an additional hearing. Similarly, the tenants' prior knowledge of the bathroom repair does not preclude a rent reduction when they temporarily lost use of the bathroom. For these reasons, the decision of the hearing examiner should be affirmed.

b. Appeal T-4519; 3028 Deakin St. #3. This is an appeal of a hearing examiner decision which awarded rent overcharges because a water leak from an upper unit caused a portion of the kitchen ceiling to fall, leaving a gaping hole in the ceiling, and because repair work in the unit's bathroom disrupted use of the bathroom. Upon review, staff recommends that the Board defer to the findings of fact that are based primarily on witness testimony and affirm the decision of the hearing examiner.

c. Appeal T-4253; 2323 Hearst Avenue. (Continued from July 8, 2004 meeting.) This is a landlord's appeal of a hearing examiner's decision that awarded rent overcharges for numerous habitability problems in the subject unit. The landlord purchased the property from the estate of the prior owner. The landlord was ordered to refund overcharges that he had collected as well as overcharges collected by the prior owner and her estate. Normally, a landlord purchasing residential rental property takes both the benefits and the burdens associated with the property, including the responsibility to refund any overcharges collected by his or her predecessor. There is an exception, however, when the prior owner dies and her estate goes through probate. In this situation, the tenants' claim for overcharges is no different than any other creditor's claim and, if not timely filed, may be time barred. Therefore, on appeal it is recommended that the decision of the hearing examiner be modified to limit the recovery of rent overcharges to those actually collected by appellant landlord.

7. Action Items

a. From Executive Director and Board Members

(1) Recommendation to appoint additional Board members to the team renegotiating the Executive Director's contract. (Commissioner Chong)

(2) That the Board authorize the Executive Director to modify the Board's contract with Dr. Kenneth Baar to prepare the yearly study of apartment operating costs for the 2005 Annual General Adjustment (AGA) process in an amount not to exceed $10,000. (Executive Director)

8. Information and Announcements

Please Note: The Board may move Information Items to the Action Calendar.

a. Reports from Board Members/Staff.

(1) Status of Proposed November Ballot Measures

(2) Measure Y Tracking Report

(3) FY 2005 Budget Book (To be distributed)

b. Announcements of upcoming Committee Meetings

(1) Budget and Personnel 

(2) Outreach 

(3) IRA/AGA 

(4) Eviction 

(5) 4x4 City Council/RSB Housing Committee

c. Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda material.

9. Adjournment