Synopsis of the City of Berkeley’s Eviction Protection Ordinance

Synopsis of the City of Berkeley’s Eviction Protection Ordinance

The City of Berkeley has enacted a Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance which significantly restricts a landlord’s right to evict a tenant.  The Ordinance also imposes notice and registration obligations for any eviction carried out within the City’s borders, and requires payment of relocation expense for certain “no fault evictions.  Here is a synopsis of the good cause provisions of the Ordinance. 

Covered Properties

The Ordinance provides eviction protection for almost all units within the City’s borders, including single family homes and condos, subsidized housing and buildings with two or more units.  Rental units in a two-unit property do not have eviction protections where one unit is the principal residence of an owner of at least 50 percent of the building.  Additionally, no protection is afforded where the tenant shares kitchen or bath facilities with an owner of record of at least a 50 percent interest who maintains his or her principal residence in the building.

Good Cause Requirements

All Berkeley evictions must be supported by “good cause”, i.e., a recognized reason for the eviction.  “Good cause” evictions are limited to the following reasons:

  • Non-payment of rent;
  • Breach of lease;
  • Willful, substantial damage to the rental unit that tenant refuses to repair;
  • Tenant’s refusal to sign a new lease that is substantially identical to the expired one;
  • Disturbing the peace and quiet of other occupants;
  • Tenant’s refusal to provide access to the unit during normal business hours to show, inspect or make repairs;
  • Substantial repairs are required to comply with housing codes, that cannot be made while the tenant lives there;
  • Demolition of the unit;
  • Move-in by an owner with at least a 50 percent recorded interest in the property, or such an owner’s spouse, parent, or child, who wishes to occupy the rental unit as their principal residence;
  • Owner/Lessor move in as authorized by the lease or rental contract;
  • Tenant’s refusal to vacate temporary housing offered by the landlord after repairs to the tenant’s prior unit have been completed;
  • A tenant’s unlawful activity on the premises; and
  • “Ellis Act” evictions, where all units at the property are removed from the rental market.   

Limitations on Owner Move-In Evictions

Owner move-in evictions are prohibited where (1) the tenant has lived on the property for five or more years and the landlord has a 10% or greater ownership interest in five or more residential units in Berkeley, or (2) the tenant is at least sixty years old or disabled and has lived on the property for five or more years.  Under those circumstances the landlord cannot proceed with an owner move-in eviction unless he has owned the property for five or more years and the intended occupier is at least sixty years old or disabled.  Further, landlords are restricted from pursuing an Owner or Relative Move-In during the school year where the tenant household has a school-age child. 

Payment of Relocation Expense for Owner Move-In and Ellis Act Evictions

Owner move-in and Ellis Act evictions require payment of substantial relocation expenses to the tenant(s).  Please consult the ordinance for further information.

Notice Requirements

All eviction notices must (1) state one or more good causes for the eviction, (2) allege compliance with registration requirements (below) and (3) allege substantial compliance with the implied warranty of habitability for all covered units.  Landlords must also provide tenants with a notice informing them of the Ordinance at the beginning of any tenancy commencing after April 2017. This notice must also be included with any eviction notice.  Failure to do so is a defense to the eviction.

Registration Requirements

Registration is required for all covered and partially covered units on the property.  The landlord must also file with the Rent Stabilization Board a copy of the notice to quit or notice of termination, and a copy of the summons and complaint, within ten days of the date they are given to the tenant.

Please contact Lynx Legal Service with any questions regarding the above, or if you are ready to proceed with an eviction.  We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or  You can also schedule a telephonic consultation on our website.  We are standing by to assist in any way we can. 

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