Exceptions to the Allowable Rent Increases
Rent increases that are exempt from these requirements include an increase after the rental unit has been voluntarily vacated by the tenant and an increase after eviction of a tenant.
Under the Apartment Rent Ordinance, both property owners and tenants may file a petition. Property owners who file a petition to increase rent in excess 8% must submit a cost worksheet to the Rental Rights and Referrals Program. Pending a decision by the Hearing Officer, the amount of rent in excess of 8% is deferred and only an 8% rent increase should be de demanded or paid.
Tenants with a rent increase subject to review and/or service reduction claims or housing code violations may file a petition.
A service reduction has occurred when the level of service provided by the landlord has been reduced without a corresponding decrease in rent. The Ordinance allows tenants to request an administrative hearing for a service reduction claim. The tenant has the burden of proof to their claim by submitting evidence such as maintenance record requests, photographs, and/or testimony. If the claim is proven, the Hearing Officer will determine the percentage that the usability of the rental unit was reduced and the duration of the reduction. If the rent increase is unreasonable, the Hearing Officer may reduce a rent increase, order a credit against the paid and/or permanent or temporary reduction in future rent.
Housing Code Violations
A housing code violation has occurred when there are health and safety defects which violate the San Jose Housing Code and/or California Civil Code Sections 1941.1 and 1941.2. The tenant has the burden of proof to their claim by submitting evidence such as a Code Enforcement Inspection which is considered presumptive evidence; unless there is sufficient evidence to the contrary, violations listed in the report are considered to have been proven to exist. Issues of this type may also be service reductions. The Hearing Officer may reduce, disallow or reasonably condition any rent increase based on the severity of any Housing Code violations.
Freedom to Exercise Rights
Park owners may not do the following in retaliation for park residents demanding their rights under the Ordinance: