City of Berkeley Tenant Protections

The information below is provided by Tenants Together, based partially on research conducted by the Urban Displacement Project, and was last updated in October 2018. For complete information on the City's tenant protections, please visit their website here.

Disclaimer: This website is for general information and none of the information provided constitutes legal advice. In addition, please note that ordinances are periodically updated, modified, or interpreted by regulations. We recommend contacting the City for the official version of its law in the event that you intend to rely on this information.

Rent control is effective at keeping people in their homes. Rent control policies limit rent increases and provide greater housing stability for tenants. Rent control ordinances in California allow landlords to set the initial rent in any amount, but limit rent increases after a tenancy begins.

Rent control is often combined with eviction protections, known as "just cause for eviction," to make sure that landlords do not get around the rent increase limits by simply evicting tenants arbitrarily and bringing in new tenants. Just Cause protections provide basic fairness and prevent retaliation, discrimination, and harassment proactively.


Rating 1
What regulations does the City have? Just Cause and Rent Control Protections
Year Just Cause was Originally Adopted 1980
Year of Most Recent Just Cause Amendment 2017
Year Rent Control Originally Adopted 1980
Year of Most Recent Rent Control Amendment 2017

Just Cause Protections Summary

What causes for eviction are considered just cause - tenant at-fault?
  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violation of contract (please note there are special provisions in case of subletting)
  • Refusal to pay or make repairs caused by the tenant
  • Tenant disturbs the peace and quiet
  • Tenant refuses to allow the landlord access to the rental unit during normal business hours
  • Tenant refuses to vacate temporary housing
  • Tenant refuses to sign a new lease after a fixed-term lease
What causes for eviction are considered just cause - no-fault?
  • Substantial repairs by the landlord
  • Landlord has a permit to demolish
  • Owner moves in
Key Eligibility and Exemption Summary Small owner occupied (two-unit)
Is there a minimum tenancy for coverage? No
Do protections apply to new construction? Yes
What triggers the obligation to pay relocation assistance?
  • Owner move-in
  • Removal from rental market

Rent Control Protections Summary

What units are eligible for rent control and which are exempt? Eligible Units:
  • Most multi-unit properties that were built before June 1980
  • Single family homes with tenants who moved in prior to 1996
  • Single-family homes with 5 or more rooms rented out individually with separate leases
Exempt Units:
  • Single-family homes first re-rented on or after 1/1/1996
  • "New Construction"
  • Units that were built and received a Certificate of Occupancy after June of 1980
  • Section 8 Tenancies
  • Units where the tenant shares a kitchen or bath with a landlord
  • Any duplex that was owner-occupied on December 31, 1979, and currently has an owner living in one of the units ("Golden Duplexes")
  • Rental units rented by a non-profit, accredited institution of a higher learning (i.e., dorms)
  • Non-profit cooperatives
Banking Allowed Yes
Does the landlord have to petition for additional increases? Yes
On what grounds is the landlord allowed to petition for additional rent increases? Petition may be filed to request rent ceiling adjustments for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Capital Improvements (Regulation 1267)
  • Change in Space or Services (Regulation 1269)
  • Historically Low Rent (Regulation 1280)
  • Increased Debt Service (Regulation 1276)
  • Increased Occupancy (Regulation 1270)
  • Low Rent in Years 1976-79 (Regulation 1268)
  • Maintenance and/or Adjustment of Base Year Net Operating Income (Regulations 1262, 1264)
  • Restoration of AGAs (Regulation 1278)
Shorter (single-ground) petitions are available for requesting increases solely on one of the following grounds:
  • Capital Improvements
  • Historically Low Rent
  • Increased Occupancy
  • Implementation of Rent Increases Conditionally Granted in a Previous Advisory Decision (Regulation 1214)

Rent Board Summary

Does the City have a Rent Board? Yes
Is the Rent Board appointed or elected? Elected
Number of Units Covered by Rent Control Approximately 19,451
Number of Units Covered by Just Cause Approximately 6,916