The Richmond Rent Ordinance’s rent control protections (“Richmond Rent Control”) keep Richmond tenants housed by limiting rent increases to reasonable amounts.  For units protected by Richmond Rent Control, the landlord may not increase the rent in an amount greater than an amount set by the Richmond Rent Board.  Richmond Rent Control defines this amount as the annual general adjustment.

What Units Are Covered Under Richmond Rent Control? 

Only controlled rental units are subject to Richmond Rent Control.  Richmond Municipal Code § 11.100.030(d).  Controlled rental units are all units in the City of Richmond, except:

  • Units in hotels, motels, inns, or other units rented primarily to transients for fewer than fourteen days;
  • Unit sin hospitals, convents, monasteries, extended medical care facilities, asylums, nonprofit homes for the elderly, or university dorms;
  • Units in government agency or authority owned, operated, or managed buildings;
  • Units occupied by government-subsidized tenants provided the applicable federal or state law specifically exempts the unit form rent control;
  • Lawful accessory dwelling units/cottage units; and,
  • Units exempt from rent control due to Costa-Hawkins, which include single-family homes, condominiums, and all buildings constructed after February 1995. Please note that some of these units may be covered under California Rent Control.

Under Richmond Rent Control, How Much Can A Landlord Increase the Rent?

Each year, the Richmond Rent Board announces the permissible annual adjustment.  Richmond Municipal Code § 11.100.070.  The annual general adjustment typically takes effect on September 1stthat year.  Id.

Effective September 1, 2019, the annual general adjustment for Richmond rent controlled units in 2019 is 3.5%.

How Do Tenants Calculate Their Richmond Rent Control Base Rent?

For tenancies created after July 21, 2015, the tenant’s initial rent paid is the base rent.  For tenancies created on or before July 21, 2015, the base rent is the rent in effect on July 21, 2015.

Can a Tenant Petition the Richmond Rent Board for a Lower Rent?

Yes, Richmond tenants may petition the Richmond Rent Board for a lower annual general adjustment. Richmond Municipal Code § 11.100.070(c). The Richmond Rent Board typically grants petitions for a decrease in housing services based on landlord harassment or uncorrected habitability defects in the rental unit.  Richmond Municipal Code § 11.100.070(d).

How Much Notice is Required for a Richmond Rent Control Rent Increase?

Usually, the landlord need only provide thirty day’s notice where the rent increase is less than ten percent.  Richmond Rent Ordinance § 11.100.070(j); California Civil Code § 827.  For rent increases of ten percent or more, the landlord must provide 90 days’ written notice.  Id.  Rent increases that took effect during the previous 12 months are included for purposes of calculating rent increase percentages.  Id.

Does Richmond Rent Control Permit Rent Increase Banking?

Yes, Richmond Rent Control permits Richmond landlords to bank lawful rent increases to save for later use.  Richmond Rent Board Regulations for Richmond Rent Ordinance § 602.  However, Richmond Rent Control limits banked rent increases to no more than the current year’s annual general adjustment plus five percent of the rent charged at any time during the twelve months prior to the effective date of the proposed increase, alone or when combined with other rent increases imposed for the preceding twelve months.  Id.  Consequently, if an annual general adjustment exceeds five percent, the landlord may not impose a banked rent increase.  Id.

My Landlord May Have Violated the Richmond Rent Control, Do I have a Claim?

Yes, you may have a claim for unlawful rent increase or wrongful eviction, which could entitle you to money damages.  Unscrupulous Richmond landlords often increase rent to an amount in violation of Richmond Rent Control, or in lieu of performing a Richmond Ellis Act eviction, or Richmond owner or relative move-in eviction.  Contact Astanehe Law to discuss the Richmond Rent Ordinance, Richmond Rent Control, or California Rent Control with an attorney today.