In the Bay Area, rent control is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Regulations vary city by city, and as a property owner, it’s vital that you know which ones apply to you. Here’s a rundown on rent control in some of the largest Bay Area cities.
Rent control covers most San Francisco tenants. The annual allowable rent increase for the period spanning March 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018 is 2.2 percent. Moreover, tenants covered by rent control may only be evicted for just cause, which includes nonpayment or habitual late rent payment, nuisance or substantial building damage, or demolition of the building.
Other major components of San Francisco rent control include:
• Landlords are eligible to petition for other increases such as capital improvements, which can be passed on to a tenant for a maximum increase of 10 percent.
• Tenants can petition the San Francisco Rent Board for decreased rent if the landlord fails to provide services that are either legally required or mutually agreed upon – for example, utilities, parking, or storage space. Likewise, they can petition for lesser rent if the premises are not maintained as safe and habitable.
Like San Francisco, Berkeley’s rent-control ordinance regulates residential rents and requires landlords to only evict for specified good-cause reasons. Most buildings with two or more residential rental units or more that were built before June 30, 1980 are covered; in addition, tenants of single-family homes have both rent control and eviction control if they have lived in the unit since January 1, 1996.
The types of units that have neither rent control nor eviction control include:
• Units in a two-unit property where one unit was owner occupied on December 31, 1979 and one unit is currently owner-occupied.
• Units where the tenant shares a bathroom and kitchen with an owner who maintains the unit as his principal place of residence.
Oakland tenants living in buildings with two or more units built before 1983 are covered by rent control, with the following exceptions:
• Those who rent a unit in a single-family home or condominium unit from the owner.
• Those who live in a two- or three-unit building with a landlord who has lived in one of the units for more than two years
• Those living in any form of government subsidized housing – however, this category may still be covered by the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.
A landlord who owns at least five units in the City of Hayward – any kind of common ownership and any percentage of ownership – falls under the Hayward Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
The following units are not part of rent control:
• Accommodations in hospitals, extended-care facilities, and dormitories.
• Publicly funded housing projects.
• All units built after July 1, 1979.
• Accommodations in motels, hotels, inns, tourist houses, rooming houses, and boarding houses – unless occupied for more than 30 days.
• Cooperative housing owned by a majority of the residents.
In July 2017, the Fremont City Council backed away from pursuing rent-control laws similar to the rest of the cities listed above. However, there are three ordinances that may be considered applicable:
• Affordable Housing Ordinance, which fosters adequate amounts of housing for people at all economic levels.
• Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which limits rent increases at mobile home parks to one per year.
• Residential Rent Increase Dispute Resolution, which applies to all housing units and provides steps that can be taken to resolve rent-increase disputes.
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