Click to expand the graphic and learn more about which evictions are permitted in Berkeley as of May 1, 2023. Credit: Berkeley Rent Board

Some evictions are now allowed in Berkeley as its eviction moratorium, which was in effect for 41 months under COVID-19 pandemic regulations, begins expiring.

The city is currently in a “transition period” for the eviction moratorium between May 1 and Aug. 31. On Sept. 1, all “good cause” evictions will be allowed for properties covered by the Berkeley rent board ordinance, and all other evictions can move forward in the city.

Here’s everything you need to know about navigating the changes as a property owner and tenant. You can also refer to the Rent Stabilization Board’s eviction moratorium information page.

Which evictions are currently allowed?

As of May 1, Berkeley property owners could serve three-day eviction notices in these categories.

  • Owner move-in; if the owner has only one property in Berkeley
  • Evictions for health and safety violations (already permitted during the moratorium)
  • Nonpayment of rent, under reasons not covered under COVID-19 regulations. This means you can’t pay rent but didn’t lose your income because of the pandemic.

For an eviction to be valid, property owners must file the three-day notice with their tenants and follow up with a notice to the Berkeley Rent Board within 10 days.

How much rent do I have to pay to avoid being evicted?

Renters who receive an eviction notice from their landlord for nonpayment of rent are only required to pay one month’s rent — in this case, May rent — to remain in their lease. They are not currently responsible for any back payments. They have to pay rent every following month to keep their housing.

Property owners are now allowed, however, to file lawsuits against their tenants for nonpayment of rent.

What do I do if I get an eviction notice?

The most important thing to do if you get an eviction notice is to respond promptly and reach out for help. Counselors are available through the Berkeley Rent Board, the Eviction Defense Center and the East Bay Community Law Center.

If you can’t pay the rent, and it’s not because of reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for certain types of financial assistance through the city’s Housing Retention Fund and the Eviction Defense Center.

If you can’t pay rent because of the pandemic, fill out and submit the Tenant Declaration of COVID-related Distress within the three-day eviction notice period from your landlord.

Rent Board Chair Leah Simon-Weisberg said advocates are pushing to make the response period longer, but it’s currently important to abide by those terms.

“Take action immediately, quickly — you don’t want to delay,” Simon-Weisberg said. “As stressful as it is, just taking action will make a difference.”

Additional resources for finding rent support and legal assistance:

How can I get help paying rent?

On Tuesday, the City Council approved an additional $200,000 in funds for the Eviction Defense Center, which has been in charge of disbursing funds for people who apply for rent support in Berkeley.

Residents can apply for this rent support through the city’s Housing Retention Fund. There are several eligibility guidelines for these grants, including income verification.

There are also separate categories for residents aged 65 and older or those with income impacted by COVID-19.

How many evictions have been filed so far?

Many advocates and renters have been raising the alarm over an impending “eviction cliff” in Alameda County as protections expire. Simon-Weisberg said, so far, only a handful of landlords have filed eviction notices, and few have been under valid terms.

She said the city of Berkeley has put several plans in motion, including bolstering the Housing Retention Fund, to ensure there isn’t a massive wave of evictions in Berkeley.

“I think that in Berkeley, we are not going to see this kind of eviction cliff because we’re implementing smart policies — not just because there was no one to get evicted, but because we’re looking at the (whole rental ecosystem) in a smart way,” Simon-Weisberg said.

She emphasized that Rent Board resources are available to property owners and tenants, and anyone with questions should reach out for help.

“We get more contacts from landlords than we do from tenants, so everyone should feel free to call,” Simon-Weisberg said.

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Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...