Glossary of Terms

Below are frequently used terms throughout the RAP. Included are definitions and similar words for these terms.


Administrative decision

is a decision about a claim reached without holding a hearing. Hearing Officers make Administrative decisions. They can be made when there is date change request, insufficient information, rent increase rescinded, case dismissal, unit exemption.

Synonym: Admin Decision

Anniversary date

is whichever date comes later between the two: 1) the date falling one year after the day the tenant was provided with possession of the covered unit. 2) one year after the day the most recent rent adjustment took effect. Following certain vacancies, a subsequent tenant will assume the anniversary date of the previous tenant (Section 8.22.080).

Synonym: End of Lease

Appeal panel

means a three-member panel of board members that hear appeals of Hearing Officer decisions. These panels include: one property owner, one tenant, and one person who is neither. Appeal panels may be made up of all regular board members, all alternates, or a combination of regular board members and alternates.


the person appealing to the Rent Board



means any CPI Rent Adjustment (or any rent adjustment formerly known as the Annual Permissible Rent Increase) the owner chooses to delay imposing in part or in full, and which may be imposed at a later date, subject to the restrictions in the regulations.

Synonyms: Deferred Rent Increase, Banked annual increase


Capital improvements

are improvements to a covered unit or common areas. These improvements add to the value of the property. They also prolong its useful life or adapt it to new building codes. Those improvements must primarily benefit the tenant rather than the owner.

Synonym: Rehabilitation Costs


means the California state law known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Hawkins Act codified at California Civil Code § 1954.50, et seq. It applies mainly to single family homes and condominiums.

Covered unit

The RAP covers all property used for residential rental housing with several exceptions. The three most common exemptions from RAP are:

1) that the unit is government subsidized housing.
2) that the unit is newly construction units (built after January 1, 1983)
3) the unit is a single family home or condominium exempt under the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Cal. Govt. C. §1954.50, et seq.)

Synonym: Eligible Unit, RAP unit, Rent Controlled unit

CPI Rent Increase

means the largest rent increase that an owner may impose within a twelve (12) month period without a petition. This amount is calculated annually based upon the Consumer Price Index.

Synonym: Annual Allowed Rent Increase, Allowable Amount, Annual Rent Adjustment, Annual CPI rent increase


Ellis Act Ordinance

sets out requirements for withdrawal of residential rental units from the market pursuant to California Government Code § 7060, et seq. (the Ellis Act).

Synonym: Ellis Act, Terminating Tenancy to Withdraw Residential Rental Units from the Rental Market


Fair Return

A property owner may submit evidence to show that without the requested rent increase he or she is being denied a fair return on the investment. A property owner must show that the return on the investment is less than the return for an investment of similar risk. At minimum, the property owner is required to provide three things:.1) proof of the amount of investment, 2) evidence of the return from other investments of similar risk, 3) an analysis of the rate of return from the rental property, including any appreciation in the value of the property.


Housing services

means all services provided by the owner related to the use or occupancy of a unit. These include: insurance, repairs, maintenance, painting, utilities, heat, water, elevator service, laundry facilities, janitorial service, refuse removal, furnishings, parking, security service, and employee services.

Synonym: Operations & Maintenance, O&M

Housing services costs

are expenses for services provided by the property owner. The costs are related to the use of a rental unit and also known as “operating expenses”. The most recent two years of operating expenses are compared to determine if a rent increase is justified. The calculation in both years must provide a reasonable comparison of all expenses. If the increase is challenged by a tenant before the Rent Program, evidence is required to prove each of the claimed expenses.

Synonym: Operating Expenses


Illegal Activity

Illegal activity includes, but is not limited to the following: possession, possession for sale, sale, use, cultivation of controlled substances ( for example, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc), gang related crime, gambling, illegal possession of guns or ammunition, prostitution, pimping, threatening or performing a violent crime.

Synonym: Breaking the law


Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance

means the ordinance adopted by the voters on November 5, 2002 and codified at O.M.C. 8.22.300 (O.M.C. Chapter 8.22, Article II). The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance restricts the reasons why an owner can and cannot evict a tenant.

Synonym: Just Cause, Measure EE


Notice of Eviction

means any notice of termination of tenancy served pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1946. This notice is commonly referred to as a thirty (30) or sixty (60) day notice of termination of tenancy. But the notice period may actually be for a longer or shorter period, depending on the circumstances.

Synonym: Eviction Notice, 1946 notice, Notice Terminating Tenancy, Notice to Pay or Quit

Notice of Violation

means a notice issued by the City informing the property owner of problems with the condition of the property. These problems are severe enough to violate the City’s Building Code. This notice allows the property owner up to 30 days to fix any problems. If the owner has not fixed the problem, they City can fine the owner. This fine can only be paid by the owner. The owner cannot ask the tenant to pay any of the fine.

Synonym: NOV



means the owner of the property. This includes any owner, lessor or landlord, as defined by state law, of a covered unit. This unit is leased or rented to another, and the representative, agent, or successor of such owner, lessor or landlord.

Synonym: Landlord, Property Owner, Lessor


Pass through

means the amount of an expense or a cost that can pass onto another party. Often, this is used for repair or capital improvement costs. In this instance, an owner is allowed to ask the tenant to pay a certain amount of these costs. This amount is the pass through.




means the Rent Program Service Fee as set out in O.M.C. 8.22.500 (Chapter 8.22, Article IV). Current the RAP fee is $68 per unit.

Synonym: Fee, RAP Service Fee

Relocation Assistance

is money to services provided if a tenant is displaced. In certain circumstances, tenants are entitled to this assistance if they must leave their unit.


means the total charged or received by an owner in exchange for the use or occupancy of a covered unit. This amount includes all housing services provided to the tenant.

Rent Board

means the Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board. This body gives policy direction to RAP staff and hears appeal cases.

Synonym: Board, Residential Rent Adjustment Board, RRAP Board


Security deposit

means any tenant payment to the owner for property damage or cleaning to the rented unit when the tenant moves out. This payment also is for a tenant not paying rent. It does not cover normal wear and tear of the property. This tenant payment includes any fee, deposit, or charge, including early payment of rent.

Synonym: Deposit



means a person entitled to use or occupancy of any covered unit.

Synonym: Renter, Occupant


Uninsured repairs

Uninsured repair costs are casualty losses that are not reimbursed to the property owner. Casualty losses are related to damage from fire, earthquake, or other disasters. These costs must be associated with repairs to meet state or local laws. An increase for uninsured repairs is calculated the same way as an increase for capital improvements.