Overview of the Apartment Rent Ordinance
Landlords may now petition for a one-time offset rent increase for Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO) apartments currently passing through utility charges through a Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS). The petitions must be filed between July 5, 2018 to October 31, 2018.
Existing written rental agreement, amendment, or addenda provisions for payment or pass through of utility service or similar charges or for ratio utility billing to the tenant that were executed by the landlord are void by either the date the Petition Examiner or Hearing Officer issues a decision or October 31, 2018 if a landlord does not submit a complete petition.
If landlords charge for water, sewer, garbage, gas, and/or electricity, a one-time increase may be added to the base rent. The one-time increase may equal to the average monthly utility charges in the 2017 calendar year, capped by the 2018 Santa Clara County Housing Authority Utility Allowance rates below:
Monthly Dollar Increase Allowances by Number of Bedrooms
UTILITY OR SERVICE
Water, Sewer, & Trash
Gas & Electricity
To file a RUBS petition, landlords must submit the following supporting documents:
Updates to the ARO Regulations
On April 24, 2018, the City Council approved an amendment to the ARO providing clarification that Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) is not allowed and additionally establishing a petition process to be described in the Regulations for landlords with existing RUBS contracts. The City Council requested staff to work with the Attorney’s Office to prepare a further amendment to the ARO clarifying that RUBS agreements will be allowed until October 31, 2018 or until the decision on a landlord’s petition for a one-time rent increase, whichever is sooner. This second amendment was adopted by the City Council on June 5, 2018, at which time the City Council directed staff to take an amendment to the Regulations establishing the petition process to the City Manager for approval.
Additionally, since the ARO and Regulations changed most of the longstanding petition procedures, questions about the new procedures have arisen and staff and the hearing officers have identified opportunities for improvement to customer service and processes related to implementation of the petition process by the Regulations. Staff also received feedback from a range of stakeholders while developing the amendments to the Regulations.
The amendments to the ARO Regulations include:
A landlord can petition to pass through costs to tenants for the following reasons:
•Threaten to sue, evict or terminate the tenancy of the tenant(s).
•Harass you until you leave.
•Reduce your services.
•Increase your rent.
•Impose a security deposit or any other new charge.