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Tenant Petition Options
East Palo Alto has rent control protections for tenants. Tenants can file petitions A, B or C when your landlord violates the requirements of the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance of 2010 (the “Ordinance”). You may file petitions seeking a rent reduction and for a rebate for rent already paid for the following reasons:

File Petition A for a Rent Reduction and Rebate for Rent Ceiling Violations:    

This petition may be filed by a tenant to seek a rent reduction when rent is being charged over the Maximum Allowable Rent (“MAR”) or allowed Annual General Adjustments (“AGAs”) for a regulated rental unit. If a tenant is charged more than the rent permissible under the Ordinance, the tenant may be entitled to receive a rent rebate for overcharges.
Depending upon the facts of a particular tenancy, rebates for overcharges may be secured for as far back as August 2010.  

Tenants can also file Petition A if their landlord failed to properly register their unit; failed to substantially comply with the Ordinance and orders or regulations issued or promulgated under the Ordinance; failed to comply with the implied warranty of habitability that requires a rental unit be fit for human habitation, and complete all repairs ordered by the City’s Building Inspection and Code Compliance Divisions.  

File Petition B for Rent Reduction and Rebate for Housing Service Reductions, including Maintenance and Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability:             

petition may be filed to seek approval for a rent reduction and a rebate of rent paid when the tenant experiences maintenance problems or reductions in service that have not been corrected in a reasonable time. Landlords must provide units that substantially comply with applicable state and/or local housing, health and safety codes, and make corrections when there is deterioration of the rental unit (such as broken appliances, worn out carpets, mold, etc.). The amount of rent reduction and rebate that may be approved by a hearing examiner is calculated by multiplying the rent paid during the time the problem was not corrected by the percentage by which the tenant’s use of and benefit from the unit has been impaired by the landlord’s non-compliance or failure to make corrections. The landlord should be given a reasonable opportunity to correct the problem before the tenant files a petition. Rebates can be secured for uncorrected problems that existed as far back as August 2010.
Tenants, for their protection, are encouraged to give their landlord a written notice describing each habitability and maintenance problem, and to include in their petition the date each notice was given verbally or in writing. If a landlord does not correct a problem within a reasonable time, tenants may file a complaint about code violations and health and safety problems with the City of East Palo Alto Building Division by calling (650) 853-3193, and/or the San Mateo County Environmental Health Division by calling (650) 599-1112. After a complaint form has been submitted, these agencies may schedule an inspection to verify code violations which have not been corrected, issue notices to landlords to correct any deficiencies identified, and make follow-up inspections to ensure compliance. The inspection reports can be submitted as documentation of the problems cited by the tenant in the petition to the Rent Stabilization Board.  

File Petition C for Approval to Withhold Rent for Landlord’s Failure to Register a Unit with the Rent Stabilization Program:                    

may contact the Rent Stabilization Program to find out if their rental unit is properly registered and for more information about this provision in the Ordinance.

To access all petitions and instructions, visit our Tenant Forms Section by clicking here


For Assistance in Filing Petitions: Contact Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto at (650) 326-6440 ext. 312; or go to 1861 Bay Road, East Palo Alto.