13.76.060

Rent Stabilization Board.

A. Composition. There shall be in the City of Berkeley an elected Rent Stabilization Board; the board shall consist of nine commissioners. The board shall elect annually as chairperson one of its members to serve in that capacity.

B. Eligibility. Residents who are duly qualified electors of the City of Berkeley are eligible to serve as commissioners on the board.

C. Full disclosure of holdings. Candidates for the position of commissioner shall fulfill the requirements as set forth in the City Charter in Article III, Section 6 1/2.

In addition, when filing nomination papers, candidates shall submit a verified statement of their interests and dealings in real property, including but not limited to its ownership, sale or management and investment in and association with partnerships, corporations, joint ventures and syndicates engaged in its ownership, sale or management during the previous three years.

D. Election of commissioners. Commissioners shall be elected at the statewide general election held in November of even numbered years.

E. Terms of office. Commissioners' terms of office shall be as set forth in Article XVII of the Berkeley City Charter.

F. Powers and duties. The elected Rent Stabilization Board shall have the power to determine, to arbitrate and to set rent levels, whether through general or individual adjustments, of any unit which has controlled rents under any Berkeley Ordinance, and to administer any Berkeley program which regulates rents and evictions. The board shall have the following powers and duties:

1. Set the rent ceilings for all rental units.

2. Require registration of all rental units under Section 13.76.080. 

3. Publicize the manner in which the base rent ceiling is established under Section 13.76.100.

4. To make adjustments in the rent ceiling in accordance with Sections 13.76.110 and 13.76.120.

5. Set rents at fair and equitable levels in view of and in order to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

6. To issue orders. rules and regulations, conduct hearings and charge fees as set below.

7. Make such studies, surveys and investigations, conduct such hearings, and obtain such information as is necessary to carry out its powers and duties.

8. Report annually to the City Council of the City of Berkeley on the status of rental housing units covered by this chapter.

9. Request the City Council to remove rent controls under Section 13.76.060Q.

10. Administer oaths and affirmations and subpoena witnesses and relevant documents.

11. Establish rules and regulations for settling civil claims under Section 13.76.150. 

12. Seek injunctive relief under Section 13.76.150.

13. Pursue civil remedies in courts of appropriate jurisdiction.

14. Intervene as an interested party in any litigation brought before a court of appropriate jurisdiction by a landlord or tenant with respect to rental units covered by this chapter.

15. Hold public hearings.

16. Charge and collect registration fees, including penalties for late payments.

17. Other powers necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter which are not inconsistent with the terms of this chapter.

18. Except as provided in Section 13.76.060N of this chapter, the board shall finance its reasonable and necessary expenses for its operation without the use of general fund monies of the City of Berkeley.

G. Rules and Regulations: The board shall issue and follow such rules and regulations, including those which are contained in this Chapter, as will further the purposes of this Chapter. The board shall publicize its rules and regulations prior to promulgation in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the City of Berkeley.

All rules and regulations and relevant documents explaining the decisions, orders, and policies of the board shall be kept in the board's office and shall be available to the public for inspection and copying.

The board shall publicize this Chapter so that all residents of Berkeley will have the opportunity to become informed about their legal rights and duties under this Chapter. The board shall prepare a brochure which fully describes the legal rights and duties of landlords and tenants under this Chapter. The brochure shall be made available to the public.

H. Meetings: The board shall hold regularly scheduled meetings. Special meetings shall be called at the request of at least a majority of the commissioners of the board. The board shall hold its initial meeting no later than July 15, 1980.

I. Quorum: Five commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the board.

J. Voting: The affirmative vote of five commissioners of the board is required for a decision, including all motions, rules, regulations, and orders of the board.

K. Compensation: The Rent Stabilization Board shall be a working board. Commissioners shall be paid compensation and benefits in an amount set by the board in order to compensate commissioners for their time and work performed as required by this chapter and the city charter.

L. Dockets: The board shall maintain and keep in its office all hearing dockets, which shall be available for public inspection.

M. Vacancies: If a vacancy shall occur on the board, a qualified person to fill such vacancy shall be selected in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article V of the City Charter.

N. Financing: The board shall finance its reasonable and necessary expenses by charging landlords annual registration fees in amounts deemed reasonable by the board. Such registration fees shall not be passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases except with the express prior approval of the board. The board is also empowered to request and receive funding, when and if necessary, from the City of Berkeley and/or any other available source for it reasonable and necessary expenses.

O. Staff: The board shall be a working board and shall employ such staff as may be necessary to perform its functions efficiently and as provided by Berkeley Ordinance.

P. Registration: The board shall require the registration of all rental units covered by this chapter as provided for in Section 13.76.080. The board may also require landlords to provide current information supplementing their registration statements.

Q. Decontrol: If the annual average vacancy rate for all rental units in the City of Berkeley exceeds five percent over a six-month period, the City Council is empowered, upon request by the board, at its discretion and in order to achieve the purposes of this chapter, to exempt rental units covered by this chapter from Sections 13.76.08013.76.10013.76.110 and 13.76.120 of this chapter. In determining the vacancy rate for the City of Berkeley the board and the City Council shall consider all available data and may conduct their own survey. If units are exempted pursuant to this Subsection Q coverage shall be reimposed if the City Council finds that the average annual vacancy rate has thereafter fallen below five percent. Prior to any decision to exempt or renew coverage for rental units under this Subsection Q the board shall hold at least two public hearings.

R. Conflict of Interest: Commissioners shall be subject to the requirements of the California Political Reform Act and other applicable state and local conflict of interest codes. Commissioners shall not necessarily be disqualified from exercising any of their powers and duties on the grounds of a conflict of interest solely on the basis of their status as a landlord or tenant. However, a commissioner shall be disqualified from ruling on a petition for an individual adjustment of a rent ceiling under Section 13.76.120, where the commissioner is either the landlord of the property or a tenant residing in the property that is involved in the petition.

(Ord. 6008-NS § 6, 1982: Ord. 5467-NS § 6, 1982: Ord. 5261-NS § 6, 1980.)