Earning its unique spot in history, Berkeley is noted for its activism-infused heritage and precedent-setting public policy initiatives. The Berkeley Rent Ordinance is evidence of this progressivism.

This ordinance was enacted in 1980 and regulates virtually all residential units in the city. With few exceptions, even units not covered by rent controls are guaranteed eviction protections.

Berkeley's Annual General Adjustment (AGA) allows landlords of most units fully covered by the Rent Ordinance to raise the rent up to a new ceiling pegged at 65% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all Urban Consumers in the Bay Area from July 1 through June 30 of the prior year.

Despite rampant inflation, the current AGA for 2022 is 2.1%. With proper notice, Berkeley landlords who choose not to take an AGA rent increase in a given year can "bank" the permissible increase and raise the rent to the rent ceiling at a future date. We hasten to say that in some cases, rent increases are prohibited.

Approved by voters in November 2020, Measure MM ushered in registration requirements for most units that are partially covered by the Rent Ordinance. Namely, those units that re not subject to rent control, but are covered by the good cause for eviction and security deposit interest sections of the Rent Ordinance. These include new construction units, along with most single-family homes and condominiums. This registry includes paying a fee, updating tenancy information, and more.

There are a myriad of other regulations that govern landlord-tenant relationships in Berkeley and the Rent Board is all too willing to air out grievances if landlording rules are not followed to the letter, making it imperative to be tethered to a law firm with knowledge of the nuances of Berkeley's complicated regulatory regime.

Refreshingly, while Berkeley is considered to be the home to some of the most stringent protections anywhere, its Tenant Buyout Ordinance (TBO) is not so cumbersome when compared to other Bay Area locales. This is a core practice area of our firm and may be a viable option to transition tenants out of a unit when there are no other convenient or legal means to evict.


Guide to Berkeley rent control: Get acclimated to many aspects of operating a rental business in a city with some of the most rigorous tenant protections anywhere »

Rights & Responsibilities: Learn duties under Berkeley's Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance and common issues that arise in landlord-tenant relationships »

More on the Annual General Adjustment and rent increases »

News feed from the Berkeley Rent Board »

Berkeley Tenant Buyout Ordinance »


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