Landlords Can’t Evade Rent Control

A California appeals court rejected a Berkeley landlord’s “transparent attempt to circumvent the provisions of local rent control.”

After the landlords, Jason and Karen Mak, gave a 28-year-long tenant a 60-day eviction notice in 2012 in order to move into the unit themselves, they instead rented it for twice what the rent-controlled tenant had paid.

The First District Court of Appeals last week upheld the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board ruling that limits the rent on one of four units in a city complex would be held to what the prior tenant had been charged.

The prior tenant, Elizabeth Burns, had lived there for 28 years, paying roughly $1,078 a month.  After receiving the Mak’s 60-day notice she agreed in writing to vacate in exchange for paying no rent for two months and receiving a cash payment.

The Mak’s had send they planned to live in the rent controlled unit, one of the grounds for eviction from rent-controlled housing.

But they never moved in and in March 2013, they rented the unit to Alexander and Andrea Ziem for $2,400 per month.  The Ziem’s went to the Berkeley rent board to ask that their rent be limited to $1,078 that Burns had been paying.

The appeals court upheld the rent board’s limit on the Ziem’s rent saying the city rule was a reasonable regulation of evictions to “create an administrative deterrent to discourage landlords from serving less than good faith owner move-in notices.”

Case: Mak v. City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, No. A143671

 

One comment

  1. Here in the UK, there are growing calls to introduce rent controls because the cost of renting a property in London is becoming increasingly unaffordable. However, letting agent http://www.assetgrove.co.uk reports that this will actually restrict the number of homes available for rent because if landlords are not able to charge tenants a fee that gives them a profit, they will find alternative investment vehicles and many thousands of homes will be left to rot and be uninhabitable.

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