Leah Simon-Weisberg, Rent Board Commissioner & Golden Duplex Tenant
We've made incredible progress in the fights. In March 2020, we defeated TOPA on its initial inception. In July 2020 we defeated attempts to take away rights from duplex and Accessory Dwelling Unit owners. Check out where we spoke our truth, when we told Rent Board commissioners the impact of over-regulation on small rental housing providers.
We need to keep speaking the realities of being a rental housing provider! Ask other property owners and realtors you know, to join us in the fight. Pass this website on to others.
We caught the attention of Berkeley media who has reported on our efforts in the past, to kill harmful legislation!
It can make a difference when the public shows up en masse. Attend the City Council Work Session, Thursday, January 27 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. Check here for updated information on the Zoom link to attend. You will have a chance to express your opinion when the Mayor invites Public Comment. Follow the Chair's instructions to "raise" your hand on Zoom if you want to speak. (But it's via Zoom - so you can do other things while waiting your turn to speak!)
Ask the Committee to continue to hold this policy in committee until the proposed legislation is clear! Check out our talking points!
If you can't attend the meeting, take the time to send a message to City Council expressing your experience as a small owner and your feelings about this legislation. Here's how.
Despite the fact that single family homes, condos, Golden Duplexes, some new ADUS, and buildings built after 2005 are not subject to rent control due to the Costa Hawkins Rental Act of 1995 (a state law), the voters passed legislation in November 2020 that will make these rental housing providers pay a fee to register their units and come under their watchful eye. This means owners must required to report information about their tenancies including rental amount, tenant contact info and what is included in the rent. This allows them to track your rental and contact your tenant with information about Rent Board services. For more information, check it out here.
In 1982 (and again in 2018 and 2020), the Berkeley voters agreed that living on property with your tenant, creates a relationship similar to having a roommate. An owner and tenant are likely to share common space, interact regularly, and create a more personal relationship.
The Golden Duplex rule says that if an owner of record on December 31, 1979 lived on the property and an owner of current record lives in one of the units, then the unit rented to the tenant is exempt from rent control and does not have Berkeley eviction protections.
In 2018 - in coordination with Councilmembers, community members and builders - the voters agreed to extend the protections of a Golden Duplex owner to anyone who built and rented out an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). Community feedback told us that an owner was more likely to rent out the ADU if they were exempt from rent control and the Just Cause ordinance.
These type of personal living arrangements tend to lead to lower rents and more stable housing for tenants. Commissioner Simon-Weisberg is fond of saying that "owners are regularly evicting Golden Duplex tenants." Time and time again we have asked for proof on the matter, and she refuses. With an eviction rate in Berkeley of less than .01%, we ask how that can be possible?
With these exemptions, an owner can more easily make decisions about their property and who lives with them. If the relationship sours, the owner can give the tenant proper notice to vacate -- just as they would if they were renting out a room in their home. Rent Board commissioners are proposing to take away an owner's right to choose who lives on the property with them.