After filing the petition, the landlord or tenant can:
- Access case information or add new information through the online portal if you make an account.
- Submit supporting documents no later than fourteen days before the hearing date.
- Contact the Program Analyst assigned to their case to address any questions/concerns
- Come to drop-in office hours in the Housing Resource Center on the 6th Floor. There are NO drop in hours on Fridays.
- Review a case file online or in-person by appointment. (Please advise: Not all documentation is available online. Documents submitted in physical form will only be available by appointment in the Rent Adjustment Program office.)
- City staff will notify the landlord about the tenant’s complaint or the tenant about the landlord’s petition.
- The notice will include a copy of the original petition.
- Property owners and tenants will have 35 days to respond to the petition from the date of the mailed notice.
- Tenants can pay the old rent if they file an eligible petition, unless the rent increase notice specifies the current allowable CPI. If it does, tenants must pay the old rent plus the current allowable CPI increase.
- The landlord or tenant who filed the complaint will receive a copy of the response by mail.
- Property owners and tenants must submit any supporting documents no later than fourteen calendar days before the scheduled hearing date.
- To schedule an appointment, contact the Rent Adjustment Program office at (510) 238-3721.
There are three ways that the City will make a decision about the petition.
- Mediation: This involves a voluntary meeting with the tenant and property owner facilitated by a trained mediator to discuss possible solutions.
- Formal Hearing: This is a formal hearing overseen by a Hearing Officer at the Rent Adjustment Office.
- Administrative Decision: This is a decision about a petition reached without holding a hearing. Hearing Officers make Administrative decisions.
Tenants and property owners can choose an outside mediator (parties will be responsible for any fees incurred by this process) or use an assigned mediator from the RAP.
- There is no charge for a RAP staff mediator.
- An outside mediator may charge a fee and parties will be liable for payment.
Mediation aims to help both parties to reach an agreement without a hearing. Often mediation resolves disputes more effectively rather than a formal hearing.
Both parties must request mediation to schedule the meeting. You can request mediation when completing your petition. If the parties cannot agree in mediation, your case will go to a formal hearing before a Hearing Officer.
Hearings will be conducted in person at the Rent Adjustment Office. Most hearings are scheduled for 10 a.m.
- Both the tenant and property owner sign-in in-person. Some exceptions are allowed for people to call in to the hearing.
- The Hearing Officer will review the rules and process of the hearing and perform a roll call of everyone in attendance.
- Both parties will have time to present documents and arguments to the Hearing Officer .
- After each side presents, the other party will be able to ask them questions. This is also called cross-examination.
- After both parties present their side, each party will give a closing statement.
- After closing statements, the hearing will end. The Hearing Officer does not make a decision at the hearing.
After the hearing
- The Hearing Officer will review the case and the evidence presented.
- The Hearing Officer will issue a final decision and both parties will receive a copy of the decision by mail.
- All parties must follow the decision.
There are five main reasons why an Administrative Decision can be issued:
- Date Change: Hearing Officers may change the date of the hearing.
- Insufficient Information: If there is not enough information, the analyst will notify the petitioner. The petitioner must submit more information to the petition. If there is not enough information on file by the scheduled hearing, the analyst may request an administrative decision.
- Rent Increase Rescinded: If the landlord cancels the petitioned rent increase, the Hearing Officer may issue an administrative decision. The owner or tenant will need to provide evidence of the cancelled rent increase. For example, evidence could be a letter from the owner describing the cancelled rent increase.
- Dismissal: At any time, the petitioner can decide to dismiss, or cancel the petition. Once the RAP receives notice, the Hearing Officer will issue an administrative decision.
- Exemption: During the Analyst review, the Analyst will confirm if the property is exempt or not covered under the RAP. If the unit is exempt, an administrative decision will be issued.