Charter of the City of Berkeley

ARTICLE XVII

ELECTED RENT STABILIZATION BOARD


Section 120.  Purpose of Elected Rent Stabilization Board. 

The purpose of this article is to provide for proper administration of programs to regulate residential rents; to protect tenants form unwarranted rent increases and arbitrary, discriminatory or retaliatory evictions; to help maintain the diversity of the Berkeley community; and to ensure compliance with legal obligations relating to the rental of housing. 


Section 121. Composition of Rent Board. 

There shall be in the City of Berkeley an elected Rent Stabilization Board. The Board shall consist of nine elected Commissioners. The Board shall elect annually one of its members to serve as Chairperson. 

(1) Eligibility. 

Residents who are duly qualified electors of Berkeley are eligible to serve as Commissioners of the Board. 

(2) Full Disclosure of Holdings. 

Candidates for the position of Commissioner shall fulfill the requirements as set forth in this Charter in Article III, Sec. 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. 

(3) 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. 


Section 122. Election of Commissioners. 

Commissioners shall be elected at the statewide general election held in November of even numbered years, except as provided by subsection (3) below. 

(1) Term of Office. 

Commissioners shall serve terms beginning on the first day of the month following their election. Terms shall be four years, except as provided by subsection (4) below. Commissioners shall serve a maximum of two full terms. 

(2) Recall. 

Commissioners shall be subject to recall as provided in Article IV of this charter. 

(3) The First Election of Board. 

The election for the first board shall be held at the regular municipal, statewide primary or statewide general election, whichever first occurs at least 90 days after enactment of this article. 

(4) Term of Office of First Board. 

Of the nine Commissioners elected under subsection (3), the five Commissioners receiving the least votes shall hold office until the last day of November in the next even numbered year. The remaining four Commissioners shall hold office for an additional two years, those terms also ending on the last day of November of the appropriate year. 


Section 123. 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. 

(1) Replacement of Appointed Board. 

The Board provided for in this Article shall, upon taking office, replace and supersede the appointed Board provided in Berkeley Ordinance 5261-N.S. The elected Board shall assume each and every, all and singular, powers, duties, rights and responsibilities of said appointed Board. At such time, said appointed Board shall cease exercising any of the above except to aid in transition as required by the newly elected Board. At the conclusion of the transitional period (as determined by the elected Board) said appointed Board shall cease to exist as a legal entity. 

(2) Hiring of 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 the Berkeley Ordinance. The Board shall have the power to hire and fire staff notwithstanding Article VII, Sections 28(b) and (c) and Article XVI, Section 119 of the City Charter. The City Manager shall continue to provide such supportive services as are appropriate under Berkeley Ordinance. The Board shall follow the City of Berkeley affirmative action employment policy. 

(3) 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 its reasonable and necessary expenses. 

(4) Additional Powers and Duties. 

With the Rent Board's consent, the City Council may assign additional powers and duties to the Rent Board as appropriate. Furthermore, the electorate may give additional powers or duties through initiative ordinance as provided by this Charter. 

(5) Quorum. 

Five (5) Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the Board. The affirmative vote of five (5) Commissioners of the Board is required for a decision, including all motions, rules, regulations and orders of the Board. 


Section 124. Severability. 

If any provision of this Article is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unenforceable, such adjudication shall not affect the enforceability of any other provisions, and this Article shall continue in full force and effect as if such unenforceable provision were not a part hereof.