Rent Review Ordinance (Milpitas Municipal Code Title XII, Chapter 2, effective 10/15/19)

Purpose and exemptions

  • The Rent Review Program (RRP) helps Milpitas tenants and landlords to resolve rent increase disputes.
  • RRP applies to all residential rental units except the following categories are exempt:
  1. School dormitories
  2. Newer housing (built within the past 15 years)
  3. Single-family houses or condos (if not owned by a corporation and the tenant is provided a written notice that the unit is exempt from RRP)
  4. Duplexes (if one of the units is owner-occupied)

Landlord obligations under RRP

  • For a rent increase to be valid, landlords must do the following:
  1. Serve the required written notices of rent increase and the availability of RRP; and
  2. Participate in good faith in each step of the rent review process, if rent review is requested by the tenant.

Required rent increase notice

  • Rent increase notices must follow the procedure in California Civil Code Section 827(b).
  • Landlords are strongly encouraged to provide at least 90 days´ notice to allow for the orderly operation of rent review procedures.
  • Only one rent increase is allowed in any consecutive 12-month period unless there is a written agreement (separate from the lease) that specifies the amount and effective date for each increase.

Required notice of availability of rent review

  • Landlords must provide written notice of the availability of rent review when entering into a new lease agreement and obtain tenants’ written acknowledgment that the notice was received.
  • At the time of any rent increase in any amount, landlords must provide written notice of the availability or rent review.
  • Notice of availability of rent review may be served by mail, text, email, or personal delivery.
  • Rent increases over 5% must include the reason for the increase.
  • The City will make available to landlords the required notice form in English and the most commonly used languages.

How to request rent review

  • To request rent review, a tenant or landlord must contact the designated service provider (Project Sentinel) at 408-946-6582 or
  • To request a hearing by the Rent Review Board (for rent increases exceeding 5%), Project Sentinel must be contacted within 15 days of the date of the notice of rent increase.
  • The requesting party will be encouraged (but not required) to contact the opposite party to attempt resolution of the rent increase dispute.
  • Within 3 business days of receiving a request, Project Sentinel will notify the opposite party by phone or email to begin the consultation process.  The opposite party must respond to Project Sentinel within 2 business days.


  • Project Sentinel will consult with both parties separately to attempt to reach an amicable resolution of the rent increase dispute for a period not exceeding 10 business days.
  • If appropriate, Project Sentinel may refer the matter to a neutral mediator to conduct mediation with both parties together.
  • Any agreement reached by the parties through consultation or mediation will be made into a written enforceable agreement.
  • Consultation and mediation are available for rent increases of any amount.

Rent Review Board

  • Within 5 days of completion of consultation or mediation, either party may request review by the Rent Review Board if the rent increase is over 5%.
  • Within 45 days of the request, a hearing will be held before the Board to examine witnesses and review documents.
  • The landlord will present evidence to explain the reason for a rent increase greater than 5%.
  • The Board will evaluate the reasonableness of the rent increase based on a number of factors.
  • Within 5 days of the hearing, the Board´s findings and non-binding recommendation will be mailed to the parties.
  • If both parties agree with the Board´s decision, they will sign an agreement to that effect, otherwise the rent increase will be effective as provided in the notice of increase.

Enforcement of Rent Review Ordinance

  • A civil action to enforce all provisions of the Rent Review Ordinance (RRO) may be filed by the City Attorney or by any aggrieved person or entity.
  • Civil liability for the violation of any provision of RRO may be damages of up to 3 times the amount of one month’s rent, punitive damages (up to $400 per violation), plus attorneys’ fees.
  • Civil liability for violating any RRO provision is determined separately according each provision violated and each instance of violation.
  • Any person who violates any RRO provision is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or 6 months in jail.

Landlord retaliation prohibited (MMC Title XII, Chapter 3, Section 3)

  • Landlords are prohibited from taking any adverse action against a tenant because of the tenant’s use of any legal remedy, including RRO.
  • Adverse retaliatory actions within 180 days of the tenant’s exercise of any right or process under RRO are presumed to be retaliatory conduct.
  • Any rent increase in violation of this section is void and the landlord will not be allowed to increase the rent for 6 months.
  • Enforcement of this section is identical to enforcement of RRO.