Lease-Breaking Fee Prohibition
Owners of rental property in Berkeley cannot charge tenants a fee for breaking a lease. Damages under state law may still apply.
Prohibition of lease termination fees (BMC 13.78.017)
It is illegal to charge a tenant any fee for ending their tenancy before the expiration of their lease. However, landlords may still recover any charges, fees, or damages authorized under California Civil Code section 1951.2, such as rent owed under the term of the lease if the owner is unable to re-rent the unit. See our Lease Breaking page for more information. The Ordinance does not prohibit negotiations between landlords and tenants in order to terminate a tenant's liabilities.
Applicability to existing rental agreements (BMC 13.78.018)
Chapter 13.78 applies to all residential rental agreements regardless of any contractual language in any rental agreement or lease to the contrary. Any provision of an existing rental agreement or lease that violates the provisions of this chapter shall be null, void, and unenforceable.