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, 2014 all multi-unit dwellings with five (5) or more residential units will be required to provide recycling as well as compost collection for their tenants’ food scraps, food-soiled papers, and any plant debris generated at the property. This requirement is part of the County’s Phase 2 of the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance. 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 1018 - Added Section (D) to further clarify the way the Board has always interpreted this regulation (the relevant date to determine whether a tenant no longer permanently resides in a unit is the date of filing, and a landlord may not use evidence of past absences unless they are related to whether the tenant is currently residing at the unit). Amended November 2014.
Regulation 509 - This regulation makes clear that the Board will only consider a legal unit to qualify as new construction if it has received a Certificate of Occupancy issued after February 1, 1995. This standard is consistent with Costa Hawkins. Regulation 509 also makes clear that all units that were previously exempt before the passage of Costa Hawkins shall remain exempt. All units constructed as the result of rehabilitation, conversion, or partial demolition of existing units where a Certificate of Occupancy has not been issued shall not qualify as new construction. Adopted November 17, 2014.
Regulation 1266 - Added 2010 through 2014 rates to Section (A) table. (Administrative update on June 19, 2014.)
Regulation 701 - The Board amended Section (C) and added Section (D) to Regulation 701 which includes a chart with the yearly rates of interest to be paid to tenants as required by Regulation 702. Amended April 22, 2014.
Regulation 702 - The Board adopted amendments to Regulation 702 due to a 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 issued a statement in December of 2013 that it would cease publication of the H.15 rate. The current amendment makes clear that the Board will now use the 12-month average of the average rates of interest (APY) paid on the first business day of each month for six-month certificates of deposits ($5,000 minimum deposit) by insured commercial banks doing business in the City of Berkeley unless and until the Federal Reserve Board publishes an H.15 or comparable rate. Amended April 22, 2014.
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.
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.