Berkeley has free workshops to help landlords, tenants navigate rent

The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board is continuing to host free virtual workshops for tenants and landlords to help them navigate changing laws and understand common rental processes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Berkeley currently prohibits all evictions during the state of emergency called because of the pandemic. There are exceptions, however, for evictions related to the Ellis Act and the health and safety of tenants.

Tenants who are suffering from COVID-19 related job losses or illness and cannot pay rent now have up to one year after the end of the state of emergency ends to pay it back. The rent board has an online fact sheet with details about navigating this new law.

Public workshops are held on Wednesday mornings and this year’s seminar schedule is still fully remote. Click the link in each event to register for the online webinar. Videos from previous webinars and more details are available on the Rent Stabilization Board website, and housing counselors are available from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m, Monday through Friday at (510) 981-7368 and rent@cityofberkeley.info.

Separately, the Berkeley Tenants Union has a free monthly tenant counseling clinic with a tenant attorney. The next one is Wednesday, March 31, from 3-5 p.m. Anyone interested must register online by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 28 and spots will be prioritized for BTU members. Find more info online and by emailing info@berkeleytenants.org.

Wednesday, March 24: 10-11:30 a.m | Security Deposits: Rights and Responsibilities

  • For Berkeley tenants and landlords
  • How to comply with local and state laws regarding security deposits, including the use of security deposits; security deposit interest; and resolving security deposit disputes

Wednesday, April 7: 10-11:30 a.m. |Buying and selling property in Berkeley

  • For Berkeley landlords, tenants, realtors
  • Topics will include showing rental units, transfers of leases and security deposits, buyout agreements and more

Wednesday, April 14: 10-11:30 a.m. | Measure MM Webinar 

  • Measure MM, approved by voters in November 2020, requires property owners to register some single-family homes and apartments that are partially covered by rent control. The full criteria is available here.
  • This webinar will give an overview of how Measure MM impacts registration, rights and responsibilities for both landlords and tenants.

Wednesday, May 12: 10-11:30 a.m. | Rent Board Registration 101/Registering your Berkeley Rental Property Webinar 

  • For landlords
  • Registering a rental unit in Berkeley includes paying a registration fee, updating tenancy information and more. This webinar will help landlords understand the online registration portal, the registration process and important forms and deadlines related to this process.

Wednesday, June 9: 10-11:30 a.m. | Lease-Breaking Webinar

  • Landlords and tenants have important rights and responsibilities in a lease-breaking scenario. This seminar will have an overview of the relevant laws and best practices when a tenant needs to break a lease.