Berkeley's Rent Stabilization Program – Rent Control & Eviction Protection
Similar to other Bay Area locales, Berkeley's ordinance delineates between permissible rent increases and “just cause” eviction protections, or in the vernacular of Berkely, a good cause.
Landlords can only raise the rent once a year and then only based on a percentage of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Landlords who have left all enough alone and haven't raised the rents in a while may be able to “bank” the deferred rent hike and raise the rent later, with several caveats.
Berkeley owners who attempt to effectuate a vacancy without a just cause should know there is much scrutiny over no-fault evictions - the city has many rules to ensure tenants are not coerced out of the rental unit. When a tenant is transitioned out of the rental unit through no fault of their own, it will not be an informal agreement, but a well-documented transaction that sees the light of day, reportable to the Rent Board and viewable in the public domain.
The Tenant Buyout Ordinance (TBO) regulates the disclosure, negotiation, and processing of buyout agreements, an arrangement whereby the tenant agrees to voluntarily vacate the premises, in exchange for compensation, a rent waiver or both.
When an owner or close relative wants to recover a tenant-occupied rental unit for their own use, Berekely's ordinance likewise puts these no-fault evictions under a microscope. There is heightened scrutiny for certain vulnerable individuals like the elderly, disabled persons, school-aged children and others who have extra safeguards to make sure they are not nudged out without understanding their rights and having a soft place to land.
As if Berkeley's rent control rules were not complicated enough, add the length of residence, the owner's equity position in the rental property, the history of past rent increases and other variables to the mix, and so it's easy to see why proper legal counsel is needed when contending with Berkeley's regulatory regime.
More info for Berkeley housing providers