Resident Rental Discussion

At their August 14 meeting, the BZC Board voted to form an ad hoc rent committee, to include renting residents, board members, and other sangha members. The board passed the resolution below detailing the task of this committee. The committee will be chaired by Ed Herzog, who welcomes comments, questions, and other input from the community. He can be reached by email at

Task of the 2016 BZC Rent Committee:

To determine, given all the related factors (listed below), what would be an appropriate rent increase for the board to institute, within the lawful ceiling but greater than the annual allowable increase (which we typically use).

  1. How much to increase rent, and over what period of time?
  2. Propose other rent-related policies as deemed appropriate, including but not limited to handling of vacancies and creation of rental agreements.
  3. As deemed appropriate, further the process of giving the Berkeley Rent Board updated information on amounts and tenancies.

Factors (after consideration, the committee has the authority to deem a factor irrelevant):

  • current rent amounts
  • allowable rent ceiling
  • previous Board policy re rents
  • contributions of the residents, financial and otherwise
  • current rents in relation to each other
  • input from the wider sangha
  • BZC estimated income needs over the next 5-10 years
  • rent subsidies for residents as needed
  • ideas in Mark Copithorne’s proposal (see Board minutes)
  • other factors introduced by Board or committee members

Initial Clarifying Points for Everyone to Agree on Going into the Process:

  1. We’re all in this together.
  2. The rental income is considered as an income source in an analogous way to how sesshin fees are considered an income source. The Board is considering a rent increase in a similar way to how they considered a sesshin fee increase a few years ago. The Board last investigated the rent amounts about 15 years ago. It is appropriate for the Board to tackle this issue at regular intervals.
  3. There is no intention to raise rents to market rate.
  4. There is no intention to try to “get around” the allowable rent ceiling.
  5. There is no intention to use a rent increase to generate all of the $25,000 the property committee and Board have projected as needed for the next few years
  6. There is an intention to set rents low enough to support residents to practice at BZC fully and wholeheartedly.
  7. The rent committee will report its progress at the November Board meeting.