What are the laws for increasing rent in rent-controlled and non-rent controlled cities?
New rental property owners or managers, before you consider increasing rents, make sure you know your local laws and are in compliance. Non-compliance can void rent increases.
- Does your city have rent/eviction laws?
- Are business taxes and rent board fees paid?
- Is your unit registered with the city as required by local laws?
- Is your unit legal, conforming to state and local building codes?
- Have residents been given all required local disclosures? For example:
Oakland Rent Adjustment Program (RAP) form: Must be given to residents at the beginning of the residency, with every rent increase or every change in terms of residency.
Berkeley Vacancy Registration Form: Must be filed within 15 days after the start of a completely new residency, or after the last original occupants have departed.
Rent-controlled cities set caps on how much rent can be raised, also known as annual allowable increases
Current allowable increases by city in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties:
- Oakland CPI = 3% (effective 8/01/2022 - 7/30/2023)
- Alameda AGA = 3.5% (effective 9/01/2022 - 8/31/2023)
- Richmond AGA = 5.2% (effective 9/01/2022 - 8/31/2023)
Rent regulations or rent review is less strict. Cities with rent regulation in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties:
- Alameda: More than 5% increase requires rent review and the decision is binding; At or below 5% increase allows resident to request rent review and the decision is non-binding.
- Hayward: 5% cap on rent controlled units; 10% if no increase was given the year before.
- San Leandro: More than 7% increase or if more than 1 increase in 12-month period: the resident can request non-binding rent board review.
Rent Control Exemptions
- Section 8 and nonprofit housing is usually exempt from rent control; local housing authorities have specific procedures for rent increases.
- Property owners who have rent-controlled units can increase rent once a year and only by CPI or banking, not to exceed 10% unless the property owner has petitioned through the rent board.
- Owners can only impose "banked" rent increases equal to three times the current annual allowable rent increase, not to exceed 10%
- IMPORTANT: All Oakland properties under rent control or eviction control need to include a RAP form with every rent increase and change in terms of residency.
- EBRHA recommends the property owner completes a Proof of Service, which is a record for the property owner of when and how the rent was increased.
Petitioning for Increases
Some cities, such as Oakland and Berkeley, require petitions for certain rent increases (like capital improvements or fair return). Here is the Oakland Capital Improvements Petition.
Proof of Service - Critical: Failure to provide required notices could invalidate your rent increase.
- Review local noticing requirements when changing monthly rent.
- According to State law, the owner can serve rent increase notices in three ways:
- Deliver the rent increase personally.
- Deliver the increase to a person of suitable age and mail the notice.
- Post the notice on a conspicuous place on the property and mail it.
To learn more, see these websites:
- Alameda: alamedarentprogram.org
- Berkeley: cityofberkeley.info/rent
- Emeryville: ci.emeryville.ca.us/224/Housing-Programs
- Hayward: hayward-ca.gov/your-government/programs/rent-increases-landlords
- Oakland: rapwp.oaklandnet.com
- San Leandro: https://www.sanleandro.org/317/Rent-Review-Program
- Richmond: richmondrent.org/3364/Richmond-Rent-Program
How to Increase Rent in Non-rent Controlled Cities
- For rent increases 10% or under, the property owners must serve a 30 Day Notice of Change of Monthly Rent.
- For rent increases over 10%, the property owners must serve a 60 Day Notice of Change of Monthly Rent.