Rent Board Sets Increase

Friday October 21, 2005

Berkeley landlords can tack an additional seven-tenths of one percent onto the rents they charge tenants, the annual general adjustment rate approved Tuesday by the Rent Stabilization Board. 

The figure represents 65 percent of the increase in the Consumer Price Index for the Bay Area during fiscal year 2005, which ended June 30. 

The increase doesn’t apply to tenants who occupied their rentals after Jan. 1, 2005 and whose rents were established under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. 

The board also adopted an emergency regulation that will allow landlords to offer vacant units to disaster victims at below-market rate without forfeiting their right to later raise rents to market rates. 

Along with the regulation, board members adopted a resolution applying the new regulation to assist victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to find temporary housing in the city. 

Similar measures were adopted by the Oakland City Council on Oct. 4. 

Jay Kelekian, the board’s executive director, said the regulation was adopted to ease concerns of landlords who were worried that they would be locked into the lower, unprofitable rates. 

“We want to help someone who offers reduced rent to someone who has to wait two months until their FEMA check arrives, or someone else who needs six months to get back on their feet,” Kelekian said. 

“We’re also preparing guidelines and a worksheet to help landlords and tenants understand the conditions under which the lower rates are granted,” he said. 

Once the negotiated period of low rents passes, landlords will be allowed to raise rates back to market levels, Kelekian added. 

The regulation and resolution were approved by unanimous votes. 


—Richard Brenneman