View Text of AB 1164
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NEW STATE LAW WILL CHANGE
BERKELEY RENT CONTROL
A new law, AB 1164, will change the existing Berkeley Rent Control system
. This is the first of several "Fact Sheets" that the Berkeley Rent Stab
ilization Board will develop to inform everyone about this new law.
AB 1164 is called the Costa/Hawkins Rental Housing Act and was signed int
o law by Governor Wilson on 8/4/95. This law brings a new term into Berk
eley's Rent Control system - "vacancy decontrol". VACANCY DECONTROL mean
s that a rental unit owner will be able to set the rent for a unit that b
ecomes vacant without reference to past rents or a "base rent". After th
is initial rent is set following a vacancy, Rent Control will apply durin
g the period of the tenancy and rent increases will be limited to annual
adjustments and/or individual rent adjustments (as is the current policy)
FULL VACANCY DECONTROL WILL NOT BEGIN UNTIL JANUARY 1, 1999. BETWEEN
JANUARY 1, 1996 AND JANUARY 1, 1999 THERE IS A PHASE-IN PERIOD THAT MAY
CAUSE SOME CONFUSION
BECAUSE OF ITS COMPLICATED NATURE.
Some facts on AB 1164:
With these AB 1164 changes caused by this state law, the Rent Stabilizati
on Board will have to, over the next several months, adopt new rules and
regulations to deal with all of this. We will be sending out more of the
se "Fact Sheets" as we come up with these new changes.
- AB 1164 DOES NOT IMPACT AN EXISTING TENANT CURRENTLY RENTING A UNIT I
N BERKELEY FOR AS LONG AS THIS EXISTING TENANT REMAINS IN THE UNIT. It d
oesn't "start" until January 1, 1996; that is, it only applies to a unit
that becomes vacant due to a voluntary vacancy after January 1, 1996.
- From January 1, 1996 to January 1, 1999, the phase-in period", an ow
ner can, upon a voluntary vacancy, increase a rent by up to 15% or to 70%
of the HUD rent, but no more than twice for the same unit during these t
hree years. Beginning January 1, 1999, with full vacancy decontrol, an o
wner will be able to freely set the rent after a vacancy. There will sti
ll be Rent Control in Berkeley - once a unit is occupied, rental increase
s will be limited/restricted to those allowed under Berkeley's voter appr
- During the "phase-in period" - January 1, 1996 to January 1, 1999 - t
here must be a
VOLUNTARY VACANCY in order for the up to 15% increase to go into effect.
VACANCY means that the tenant leaves voluntarily, is evicted for non-paym
ent of rent or abandons the unit. Evictions for other causes, such as vi
olations of the rental agreement, owner possession, etc., ARE NOT VOLUNTA
RY VACANCIES AND SO NO INCREASE CAN OCCUR WHEN THE UNIT IS RE-RENTED.
- Remember, AB 1164 allows increases only upon vacancy, if the vacancy
was "voluntary". It does not permit these increases DURING a tenancy.
- Single family homes and condos are dealt with differently than other
rental units under AB 1164. From January 1, 1996 to January 1, 1999, ho
mes and condos (single unit rentals) can have the same rental increases (
up to 15% or 70% of HUD rents twice) following a voluntary vacancy. But,
after January 1, 1999, homes and condos will be exempt from rent control
, except for tenancies in existence prior to January 1, 1996. Eviction c
ontrols will still apply to homes and condos.
- Newly constructed rental units continue to be exempt from Rent Contro
l as they always have been under Berkeley's Ordinance.
- When a unit has several tenants or "roommates", a "voluntary vacancy"
occurs when the last tenant who lived there in 1995 leaves. So long as
one tenant who occupied the unit in 1995 remains living there, the rent i
s controlled under our present system. After the last 1995 tenant leaves
, the AB 1164 increase system of up to a 15% or 70% of HUD rents can be a
pplied to the unit (but no more than twice from 1/1/96 to 1/1/99 followin
g two "voluntary vacancies").
Let's go over AB 1164 once more:
- Introduces us to a new term - VACANCY DECONTROL - but full Vacancy De
control really won't begin for over 3 years, until January 1, 1999.
- ONLY affects rents on units after a VOLUNTARY VACANCY after January 1
- DOES NOT affect an EXISTING TENANCY - if you are now renting in Berke
ley and continue to reside in the same unit, AB 1164 does not change the
existing Berkeley Rent Control system for you.
- Between 1/1/96 and to 1/1/99, an owner can increase the rental amount
for a unit up to 15% or up to 70% of the HUD rate - ONLY when the unit i
s vacant as a result of a voluntary vacancy - and between 1/1/96 and 1/1/
99, a unit can only have two (2) of these kinds of increases (even if the
re were 10 different times the unit was vacant - it is limited to 2 of th
ese kinds of rent increases).
- Homes and condos (single unit rentals) are treated the same as apartm
ents during the 1/1/96 to 1/1/99 "phase-in period" - but AFTER January 1,
1999, homes and condos are exempt from rent control - except for tenanci
es in existence prior to January 1, 1996.
- For multiple roommate situations, when the last resident who lived th
ere in 1995 leaves, the AB 1164 increase system can occur to the unit.
This page was last updated 2/29/1996.
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