NEW LAWS AND REGULATIONS AFFECTING RENTAL PROPERTIES

RECENT STATE OR LOCAL LAW CHANGES 

Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Ordinance. The Berkeley City Council adopted Ordinance No. 7,321-N.S regulating second hand smoke in ALL multi-unit residences and common areas.  As of May 1, 2014, smoking will be prohibited in 100% of multi-unit housing with two or more units (i.e. apartments, co-ops, condominiums, common interest developments, etc). This also includes common areas such as private decks, balconies, and porches of units. For more information, visit the City’s Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Law webpage.

Tenant Screening Fees Law. Before collecting a fee from prospective tenants to run a credit check or process a rental application, landlords must now furnish a "Tenant Screening Fee Rights" statement and disclose the maxiumum fee allowed under state law (Civil Code section 1950.6 (b). Tenants are entitled to a copy of the credit report, a receipt, and any unused portion of the fee. The current cap on screening fees is $44.51. More information regarding visit the Rent Board's Tenant Screening Fees page.

New Alameda County Mandatory Recycling Requirements.  Effective July 1, 2012 all multi-unit dwellings with five (5) or more residential units must have recycling service.   For more information, click on the following links:

To establish recycling service at your property please call the City's Customer Service Call Center at 311 (510-981-7270). The City of Berkeley provides free assistance, collection containers, and instructional posters to all refuse accounts. Visit the City of Berkeley Recycling Website for more info at: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/recycling/

California Smoking Law.  As of January 2013, Civil Code section 1947.5, allows landlords to ban smoking in residential dwellings, even if previously allowed. However, this law does not pre-empt local ordinances such as Berkeley's Rent Ordinance, which prohibits tenants from being evicted for not agreeing to a unilateral change in the terms of a tenancy. Thus, although a landlord and a tenant may mutually agree to a smoking prohibition on the premise, the tenant is not required to accept such a ban where non existed before. Tenants may voluntarily sign amended leases or addendums to their lease prohibiting smoking. More info and sample lease addendums are available on the Smoking Prohibition Addendum page.

New California State Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Device(s).  Effective July 1, 2011 all single family dwellings must have carbon monoxide devices installed.  And all multi-unit dwellings as of January 1, 2013.  

For questions pertaining to existing housing or rental housing contact the Housing and Community Services Department, Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP) office at (510) 981-5445

For questions pertaining to permitted new construction contact the Planning Department at (510) 981‑7440. 


RECENT RENT BOARD REGULATION CHANGES

Regulation 1004 - Amended Regulation 1004 eliminating the requirement that a landlord allege compliance with the warranty of habitability in order to obtain a Certificate of Permissible Rent Level. Amended December 16, 2013.   

Regulation 1269 - Amended to add Section (B) Paragraph 2 to codify long-standing and unchallenged Board policy to reject petitions filed by landlords who seek a rent reduction due to the unilateral removal of base level services or space without the express written consent of the tenant.  This change will not affect the way the Board currently processes landlord petitions for decrease in space/services. Amended November 18, 2013. 

Regulation 702 - Amended due to lack of data published by the Federal Reserve Board.  Following the enactment of Measure P, the Rent Board amended Regulation 702 to implement the language of section 13.76.070 by requiring the Board to calculate the average of the six-month CD rates published in the Federal Reserve Board’s Statistical Release H.15 on the first business day of each month.  The Federal Reserve Board’s Statistical Release H.15 contains daily interest rates for selected U.S. Treasury and private money market and capital market instruments, including rates for one-, three- and six-month CDs.  The current amendment makes clear that the Board will use the most recent published 12-month average as the monthly rate for each month when the Federal Reserve Board does not publish an H.15 rate.  Amended October 21, 2013. 

Regulation 1136 - 2014 Annual General Adjustment Order

Regulation 807 - Exemption from Registration for units with tenants receiving monthly assistance through the Section 8 Program or the Shelter Plus Care Program or equivalent rent subsidy program

Regulation 503 - amended Regulation 503 [Definition of Principal Residence] by adding sections (A) and (B) to clarify the definition of a “person” for the purposes of identifying which entities can claim principal residence in a unit.

Regulation 1135 - Adopted the 2013 Annual General Adjustment Order.

Regulation 884 - Amended Regulation 884(B) – Other Waiver Requests, by adding subsection (12), which adds compliance with the Soft Story Ordinance as a criterion for discretionary review of waiver requests.

Regulation 1282 - Individual Rent Adjustments for Units in Properties Where No Units Have Received a Vacancy Increase since December 31, 1998.

Regulation 403.5. Adopted Regulation 403.5 to clarify the definition of a rooming house.

The full text of all Rent Board Regulations may be viewed at www.cityofberkeley.info/rent/  or in the Board’s Public Information Unit at 2125 Milvia Street weekdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. except for Wednesdays when the hours are noon to 6:30 p.m.  

If you do not see the Regulation change you are looking for here, visit the Rent Board Regulation Changes Archive page.