Information for New or Prospective Rental Property Owners

UPCOMING EVENT

Date/Time                                            Event/Location
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013               Berkeley Association of Realtors 1553 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (at Cedar)

FLYER

What Realtors and Purchasers Should Know about the Berkeley Rent Ordinance (Noon - 1:30p.m.) 

Join Guest Speaker, Matt Brown; Legal Counsel for the City of Berkeley Rent Board, at the May Brown Bag Luncheon of the Berkeley Association of Realtors. This event is open to the public and realtors working in the Berkeley market are encouraged to attend. For more information on the Berkeley Association of Realtors contact: leam@berkeley.com, 510-848-4288.

Prospective buyers of residential rental property may want to do the following to insure that the property is in compliance with the rent law:

  • Visit the Rent Stabilization Program office and review the property file to ensure that the property is properly registered, i.e., that the necessary forms have been filed and registration fees have been paid, and that the rents being charged are within the legal maximum.
  • Make sure all security deposits are accounted for (a buyer/new owner is obligated to refund security deposits and pay annual interest on security deposits if the seller/prior owner failed to do so).
  • Increased costs that result from the purchase of the property will not provide the basis for a rent increase. If the current rental income is not sufficient to cover the new mortgage, the new owner should be prepared to absorb the difference.

The fact that a property is registered does not ensure that the rents are legal. If the seller has not complied with the rent laws and the rents are illegally high, the new owner will be required to lower rents to the legal level and may be required to refund rent overcharges to the tenants. Prospective buyers who are unsure of the legality of the rents in a building should require the seller to obtain a Certificate of Permissible Rent Levels from the Board and should consult an attorney to learn the best way to protect themselves from having to refund any rent overcharges collected by the seller.

All registration fees are due by July 1st of each year. Any unpaid fees which are outstanding on the date of sale are the responsibility of the new owner, who must file an amended registration statement indicating that there has been a change of ownership.

Reference Guide For Realtors/Buyers