Residential Rent Stabilization

Rent Review Ordinance Overview

Ordinance Overview

The City of Hayward Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance applies to a large number of properties in the City. The law provides rules for rent increases, steps to take rental units out of rent control, and limits reasons why a landlords can evict a tenants. Currently, the Ordinance applies to approximately 14,941 rental units in Hayward, with an estimated 1,000 – 1,600 units protected by rent increase limits. 

The information below is a summary of the law. It is not a substitute for the ordinance or for legal advice. Review of the actual ordinance is strongly encouraged, and the Rent Review Office is available to answer any questions about the ordinance during business hours.

Units that are covered by the ordinance

For a house or apartment unit to be covered by the Ordinance, the following must apply:

  • The unit is in the City of Hayward.
  • The landlord owns 5 or more units in the City of Hayward.
  • The unit was built before July 1, 1979.

While single family homes and condominiums are covered by the ordinance, in most cases, they are exempt from rent increase limitations described by the ordinance.

The following are not covered the Ordinance

  • Mobile homes; 
  • Hospitals, care facilities, convalescent homes, and senior homes;
  • Properties funded by a federal, state or local agency, or are paid through programs that require rent control;
  • Units built after July 1, 1979;
  • Motels, hotels, inns, and boarding houses;
  • Units owned or occupied by a majority of the residents.  

Rent increases for covered units 

  1. General Rule-A landlord may not raise the rent more than five percent (5%) per year and may not raise the rent more than once in any twelve (12) month period.  
  2. Exceptions-A landlord may raise the rent more than 5% if one of the following apply:
  • Banking:  The landlord may add the untaken rent increase to the current year. However, the total of the untaken rent increases can not exceed 10%.  For example, if the landlord did not increase rents in 2015, 2016, 2017, they would be allowed to increase rents in 2018 by 10% and 2019 by 10% and 2020 by 10% until they caught up  
  • Increase in Utility Costs:  A landlord may also increase the rent more than five percent (5%) per year to recover the cost of increases in utilities, such as water, garbage, gas and/or electricity.  
  • Fair Return: A landlord may also increase the rent more than five percent (5%) per year to make a fair profit, as long as the increase complies with local and state law.  

Providing notice of a rent increase

Before raising the rent on a unit covered by the ordinance, the landlord must provide the following information to the tenant in writing: 

  1. The amount of rent increase in both dollars and as a percentage of existing rent;  
  2. A list of all other units affected by the rent increase; 
  3. Contact information and availability of the landlord or landlord’s representative to discuss the proposed rent increase; 
  4. Contact information for the City’s Rent Review Office, plus a copy of the City’s petition for rent review form; and 
  5. Information explaining the rent increase, which may include:
  • If the rent increase is five percent (5%) or less: a statement that the landlord considers the rent increase follows the Ordinance; or
  • If the rent increase exceeds five percent (5%): 
i. The rental history of the unit; or
ii. A summary of the unavoidable increases in maintenance or other expenses, including the cost of construction, and allocation of costs among affected rental units; or
iii. A summary of the increased cost of the landlord's debt due to loans on the unit/property; or
iv. Other relevant information that supports the level of rent increase desired. 

This is in addition to notices for rent increase that are required by state law.  If a landlord fails to follow these procedures, it can be used by the tenant to legally challenge an eviction or a rent increase. 

Interest on security deposits 

Landlords are required to pay interest on a renter’s security deposit for units rented one year or longer, with interest accruing the first day a tenancy begins.  The interest rate is set annually by the Rent Review Office each November and is available on the City’s website. Landlords that do not pay interest may have to pay tenants three (3) times the amount of interest owed.