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Rent Stabilization Program
Providing protections to rental residents
against excessive rent increases and unjust evictions,
while ensuring an economically vital and affordable rental market.


About the City of East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Board and Program

In June 2010, 79% of East Palo Alto voters passed the City's comprehensive rent stabilization law, known as the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance. The purpose of the Ordinance, which regulates most residential rents in East Palo Alto, is to provide protections for residential tenants in the City from unreasonable rent increases, to protect tenants from arbitrary, discriminatory or retaliatory evictions and to assure landlords the right to a fair return. Beginning on the effective date of this Ordinance in August 2010, this Ordinance governs residential tenancies in the City except for mobile home park space rentals.

The Rent Stabilization Board, composed of seven regular and one alternate members appointed by the City Council enacts regulations, hears petition appeals and takes other actions to implement the Ordinance. The Rent Stabilization Program Administrator and staff provide information and assistance to landlords and tenants, calculate and issue certificates of Maximum Allowable Rent, engage hearing examiners to hold hearings and issue decisions on landlord and tenant rent adjustment petitions, collect registration fees, and maintain a database of registered rental units. Owners of rental property covered by the Ordinance are required to register their units with the Board by filing registration statements and paying annual registration fees, which cover the program's cost.
 
In 1995, the California legislature enacted the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which suspends rent control following a qualifying vacancy and reinstates it for a new tenancy. (Civil Code section 1954.50, et seq.) For the transition period between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 1998, owners were allowed to set new rents within prescribed limits. Now, under full "vacancy decontrol," owners may set a market rent for most tenancies beginning on or after January 1, 1999. The rent charged a new tenant becomes the new rent ceiling. Owners must register new rents upon change in tenancy with the Rent Board and may increase these rents for a new tenant only by an annual general adjustment or an individual rent adjustment granted through the Rent Board's petition process.
 
In April 1988, voters in East Palo Alto adopted the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance (the Prior Ordinance) to protect residential tenants in the City from unreasonable rent increases and to protect tenants from arbitrary, discriminatory or retaliatory evictions; and at the same time to assure landlords the right to a fair return. The 1988 Prior Ordinance continues in effect for the purpose of regulating space rents and providing eviction protections for tenants in mobile home parks in East Palo Alto.