City of Berkeley Tenant Relocation

Permanent or temporary relocation often creates hardships for tenants. The City of Berkeley strives to avoid displacement where possible and to ensure that assistance is provided when moves are unavoidable.  The City achieves this policy in several ways:  

  • The City of Berkeley has adopted a local ordinance to prevent tenants from being permanently displaced if they must vacate their unit temporarily while repairs are completed to bring the unit into code compliance. The City Relocation Ordinance requires the Owner to allow the tenants to move back into the unit once repairs are completed, and to provide financial compensation to tenants to mitigate the costs associated with being temporarily displaced. 
  • City staff monitor City-assisted housing developments to ensure that whenever people or businesses must be relocated either permanently or temporarily, the relocation is carried out according to federal, state, and local regulations.  When residents have to move as a result of a City-assisted rehabilitation or housing development project that includes federal funding (such as the City’s Housing Trust Fund), the federal Uniform Relocation Act would apply.  The Uniform Relocation Act proscribes the steps that must be undertaken to notify residents in advance of any requirement to relocate, along with specific relocation assistance that must be provided to residents or businesses who may need to relocate.
  • Under the State of California's Ellis Law (California Government Code Section 7060 et seq.), owners may legally evict tenants in order to withdraw a unit from the rental market. Subsequently, the City of Berkeley passed the "Ellis" Ordinance to provide relocation assistance for low-income tenants when the tenants are subject to eviction through the state Ellis Act. The Rent Stabilization Program administers the Ellis Ordinance, and can be contacted at (510) 981-7368 for more information.

The City of Berkeley Relocation Ordinance

If a tenant in Berkeley needs to temporarily vacate a residential rental property in order for repairs to be completed to bring the property into compliance with applicable building and housing codes, the Berkeley Relocation Ordinance would apply. The City’s Relocation Ordinance is triggered whether the repairs are voluntarily initiated by the property owner, or the City’s Building Official or Fire Marshall makes a determination that the repairs and relocation are necessary.  

Refer to the ordinance (BMC Chapter 13.84) for detailed information about the relocation process, how relocation payments are calculated, and tenants' rights and responsibilities during the process. The ordinance requires that property owners provide all affected tenants with a copy of the Relocation Ordinance, a Notice of Temporary Relocation, and a Relocation Payment Request form.  Below are links to these documents to assist property owner and tenants to comply with the ordinance.  There are two versions of each form.  One version of the “Notice of Temporary Relocation” is for use when the repairs are planned and voluntarily initiated by the property owner; the other is to be used when the relocation is unexpected and the result of code enforcement activity, such as following a fire.  Both notices include a form letter to be provided to tenants that summarizes the process and their rights, and provides City contact information if they have questions.

Regarding the relocation payments, the ordinance provides different types of payments depending upon the duration of the relocation. If the period of relocation is for 29 days or less, then the tenant is entitled to a per diem payment. If the period of relocation is for 30 days or more, then the tenant is entitled to the following payments: a dislocation allowance, moving and storage costs, and a rent differential payment. Refer to BMC 13.84.070 for more information about these payments, and the link below to the City Council Resolution which provides the current amounts for these payments.

If property owners or tenants have questions about the provisions of the Relocation Ordinance, contact the City’s Housing and Community Services Department at 981-5400, 

In addition to the above forms, property owners may serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination of Tenancy pursuant to Section 13.76.130.A.7a of the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Ordinance.  If property owners or tenants have questions about the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, then they should contact the Rent Stabilization Program at 981-7368.

The Rent Stabilization Program also administers the City of Berkeley "Ellis" Ordinance which provides relocation benefits from the property owner for low income tenants who are subject to eviction through the state Ellis Act when the property owner opts to permanently remove a rental unit from the market.