This article was posted on Sunday, May 01, 2022
Rent Control

Beginning May 1, 2022, landlords of most Alameda rental units may serve their tenant with rent increase notices of no more than 2.7%, after the Alameda City Council adopted new legislation altering the moratorium on rent increases.

The change applies to multi-unit properties built prior to February 1995, which are subject to a cap on the annual amount of a rent increase, known as the Annual General Adjustment, or AGA. Units exempt from rent control under state law, including single-family homes and condos rented to tenants, are not subject to local limits on rent increases.

Local Emergency Still in Effect

The moratorium began in April 2020, when the City Council passed a number of tenant protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council’s Declaration of Local Emergency remains in effect.

New Ordinance

The new ordinance, adopted at the March 15, 2022 council meeting, allows landlords to begin implementing rent increases equal to the current AGA; however, use of previous years’ “banked” rent increases remains prohibited.

Landlords cannot serve tenants with a rent increase notice prior to May 1, 2022 and must follow the normal state requirements for serving rent increases, including the amount of notice landlords are required to give. Local limits on “no fault” terminations of tenancy also remain in effect.

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When can I use “banked” rent increases?

Answer:  Any “banked” rent increases will not be available for landlords to use until 60 days after the City Council rescinds its Declaration of Local Emergency, which currently remains in effect.

How much may I increase rent?

Beginning May 1, 2022, you may serve your tenants with a notice of a rent increase for no more than the current AGA percentage cap, which is 2.7% through August 31, 2022.

What rental units are subject to the AGA cap?

The AGA applies to multi-unit properties built prior to February 1, 1995, also known as fully-regulated properties. A multi-unit property has two or more units on a legal lot of record, even if a property owner lives in one of the units.

The 2.7% AGA is effective through August 31, 2022—what happens after that?

A new AGA will go into effect on September 1, 2022.  Any rent increase to take effect on this date or after would be subject to this new cap. The exact percentage has not yet been calculated but will be announced later in May 2022.

When can you terminate a tenancy?

Landlords may terminate a tenancy based only on certain allowable grounds identified in Ordinance 3250. The COVID-19 Urgency Ordinance(PDF, 8MB)  adopted by the City Council in April 2020 further limits these grounds, effectively prohibiting landlords from terminating a tenancy based on Owner Move-In or an approved Capital Improvement Plan. These protections remain in place while the Declaration of Local Emergency is in effect. Landlords still may permanently withdraw a property from the rental market in accordance with the City’s Ellis Act Policy(PDF, 495KB).

Is there emergency rental assistance available to tenants who are behind on rent or utility payments due to COVID-19?

See the City of Alameda’s Tenant Resources page for the latest resources and information on assistance, including the Alameda County Housing Secure Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

What will happen once the City Council lifts its Declaration of Local Emergency?

  • Thirty days after the declaration is lifted, landlords may begin issuing terminations of tenancy based on Owner Move-In or Capital Improvement Plans.
  • Sixty days after the declaration is lifted, landlords will be able to notice a rent increase that exceeds the AGA using the “banked” rent increases that they were not able to impose due to the moratorium. Such rent increases would be subject to all of the regular restrictions on banking that were established with Ordinance 3250.

What rules apply to using a “banked” rent increase?

  • See the full FAQ on banking rent increasesfor a complete list of restrictions; however, some rules to highlight:
  • A landlord may implement only one rent increase in any 12-month period.
  • Regardless of how much a landlord has banked, no rent increase may exceed the current AGA plus 3.0%.
  • A landlord who serves a rent increase that makes use of any banked amount must also serve the tenant with Form RP-203(PDF, 503KB). Within three calendar days, the landlord must also file with the Rent Program a copy of the rent increase notice and a proof of service(PDF, 124KB) .
  • A landlord may not implement a rent increase that uses banked amounts in consecutive years or more than three times during a tenancy.
  • A landlord may not bank a total of more than 8.0%.
  • Banked rent increases do not transfer to a new owner when a property changes hands.