Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash Know your status. Know your rights. Know your recourse. Did you know that the Berkeley Rent Board offers free education and counseling to inform the public about your rights as tenants in a crowded housing market? Their website and counselors can arm you with the information you need to advocate for your interests and get the most out of your living situation. For example, all tenants have the right to safe and habitable housing, i.e., a unit that is pest free, has hot and cold running water, heat, weatherproofing, etc. (CA Civil Code Section 1941.1). Make sure you always report in writing to the manager or landlord when repairs are needed. If there is no response or repair in a reasonable time, tenants can request a free housing inspection from the City at (510) 981-5444, or call the Rent Board at (510) 981-7368 (RENT) for further counseling and possible remedies. Other Berkeley Rent Board services include: Free & Confidential Drop-In Counseling: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. every 1st and 3rd Wednesday in the Basic Needs Center (MLK Student Union, B North) Rent Ceiling Information: Look up your unit’s rent ceiling, housing services, and tenancy information using their online tool Petition Process: Filing a petition with the Rent Board is a way to change a rent ceiling, obtain a determination regarding a unit’s status, and more Voluntary Mediations: Mediations can be an efficient way to address a variety of issues in landlord/tenant relationships Want to learn more? Start with their Student Renters Guide, stop by drop-in hours, or contact a Rent Board Housing Counselor.