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What is an Initial Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent ("MAR")?
Beginning in June 2011 the Rent Board began issuing Certificates of Maximum Allowable Rent (MAR) for rental units regulated under the newly adopted Ordinance, including for tenants who move into these units after the Ordinance was adopted. Based on information submitted by landlords, the Rent Stabilization Administrator calculates the Maximum Allowable Rent in the Initial Certificates issued for rental units that have been properly registered with the City. Each Certificate only applies to the tenants in a rental agreement for occupancy of a specific unit address.

Rent may be increased with proper notice up to the Maximum Allowable Rent in the certificate issued for a tenant at any time after it is issued, unless there is a timely petition challenging the calculation of Maximum Allowable Rent and it is determined to be incorrect. However, there is a 10% limitation on rent increases in any 12 month period even if the Maximum Allowable Rent is greater.

A tenant cannot be charged rent, including any fees for regulated housing services, that exceeds the Maximum Allowable Rent for the program year specified in the certificate issued for their unit. If a tenant paid more than the Maximum Allowable Rent, they may be entitled to receive a rent rebate for overcharges, and, depending on the facts of a particular tenancy, rebates may reach as far back as August 2010.

Rent Stabilization FAQ

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1. Are utility and other housing service fees included in the Maximum Allowable Rent?
2. How are Initial Certificates of Maximum Allowable Rents (MARs) determined?
3. What is an Initial Certificate of Maximum Allowable Rent ("MAR")?
4. Can I be charged a City registration fee of $9.75 in addition to my rent?
5. When and how much can my landlord raise my rent?
6. What is an Annual General Adjustment (“AGA”) and how is it to be used to raise rents?
7. What does it mean to “bank” an AGA for future rent increases?
8. Why send notices to tenants about rents, discounts provided, and fees charged by their landlord?
9. How to Secure Compliance with East Palo Alto’s Rent Control Protections