The Oakland Rent Ordinance consists of a rent control component, which protects tenants from drastic rent increases, and a just cause for eviction component, which limits when a landlord may serve an eviction. Despite providing tenants numerous protections, the Oakland Rent Ordinance does not cover every tenancy. Continue reading to learn the Oakland Rent Ordinance basics, including whether your tenancy is covered.

Oakland Rent Ordinance Coverage

Generally, the Oakland Rent Ordinance’s Rent Control provisions cover rental units in a multi-unit building that have a certificate of occupancy issued before January 1, 1983. However, the Oakland Rent Ordinance exempts several types of units from rent control coverage, including:

  1. Units with rents controlled, regulated, or subsidized by a government entity;
  2. Hotel, motel, inns where the tenant has not lived in the same room for thirty continuous days or more;
  3. Hospital, convent, monastery, extended care facility, asylum, residential care, or adult day health care for the elderly units;
  4. School dorms;
  5. Units part of a nonprofit cooperative that is owned and controlled by a majority of the residents;
  6. Units in a substantially rehabilitated building that has been issued a certificate of exemption from the Oakland Rent Ordinance;
  7. Single-family homes and condos are exempt from the Oakland Rent Ordinance’s rent control portion; or,
  8. Units in a property with three or fewer units, where the owner occupies one of the units as their principal place of residence for at least two years.

Generally, the Oakland Rent Ordinance’s Eviction Protection provisions cover rental units in Oakland, even illegal units. However, the Oakland Rent Ordinance exempts several types of units from eviction protection coverage, including:

  1. Units in certain hotels, motels, or inns;
  2. Units in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or health facility;
  3. Units in a nonprofit facility that provides short term treatment or care for alcohol, drugs, or other substance abuse, and the housing accompanies the recovery program;
  4. Units in a nonprofit facility that provides housing to assist homeless individuals in attaining independent living; or,
  5. Units in a property where the owner occupies a unit at the property as their principal place of residence and shares use of the kitchen or bathroom facilities with the other tenants.

Please note that even if the Oakland Rent Ordinance does not cover your tenancy, California Rent Control may cover your tenancy. Click here to learn about California Rent Control.

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Oakland Rent Ordinance’s Rent Control

The Oakland Rent Ordinance’s rent control portion limits the amount a landlord may increase a tenant’s rent each year. Rent control covers tenancies in multi-unit buildings built before January 1, 1983. On July 1 of each year, the Oakland Rent Board publishes the allowable rent increase percentage. For tenancies covered by Oakland rent control, a landlord is not permitted to increase the rent more than the annual allowable rent increase.

Although a landlord cannot increase rent by more than the annual allowable rent increase, the Oakland Rent Ordinance permits landlords to bank, or save, annual allowable rent increases for up to ten years. Through banking, a landlord can impose an accumulated rent increase on the tenant in a later year.

In addition to annual allowable increases, the Oakland Rent Ordinance permits a landlord to passthrough certain costs on to tenants. These charges are referred to as passthroughs. A landlord can passthrough increased housing services costs, including increased property taxes, utilities, managerial costs, and other legitimate annually recurring expenses to operate the property. Notably, this does not include debt servicing. Further, the landlord can passthrough the costs of capital improvements, and uninsured repair costs. A landlord may never passthrough the costs of routine repairs.

Oakland Rent Ordinance’s Eviction Protections

The Oakland Rent Ordinance’s eviction limitations component requires a landlord to have a just cause to evict a tenant from their rent-controlled unit. Oakland eviction protections cover most rental units in Oakland, even illegal units. Under the Oakland Rent Ordinance, a landlord may only evict a tenant where:

  1. The tenant has not paid rent;
  2. The tenant has substantially breached their lease and failed to fix the breach;
  3. The tenant refuses to sign a substantially similar written lease renewal;
  4. The has substantially damaged the unit and has ignored requests to stop, correct, or pay for repairs;
  5. The tenant is creating or allowing a nuisance at the property;
  6. The tenant is using the rental unit or common area for an illegal purpose;
  7. The tenant is refusing to allow the landlord, or his or her agent, to lawfully access the unit;
  8. The owner seeks, in good faith, to recover possession of the unit for their occupancy as a principal residence where the landlord previously occupied the unit as their principal residence and has the right to recover possession through a written agreement with the tenant;
  9. The landlord seeks to evict so that the landlord, or a relative, can move into the rental unit as their principal place of residence;
  10. The owner seeks to undertake substantial repairs necessary to make the property code compliant or correct an outstanding notice of violation that cannot be completed while the unit is occupied, and the owner has secured all necessary permits; or,
  11. The landlord seeks to evict all of the tenants in the building to withdraw all rental units from the rental market.

Landlords may not recover possession unless at least one of the aforementioned just causes for eviction exists, and is the landlord’s dominant motive for recovering possession.

To evict a tenant, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the just cause of eviction he or she is exercising. The termination of tenancy notice must also include a document distributed by the Oakland Rent Board containing information covering the tenant’s rights under the Oakland Rent Ordinance.

The landlord must file a copy of the termination of tenancy notice with the Rent Board within ten days of serving the notice on the tenant.

Money Damages Recovered For Oakland Rent Ordinance Violations & Wrongful Eviction

Oakland tenants with rent control and just cause eviction protections can exert their rights and recover money damages in a lawsuit for violations of the Oakland Rent Ordinance. A wrongfully evicted tenant can recover the value of the lost Oakland Rent Ordinance protected unit they were forced to vacate. Additionally, a wrongfully evicted tenant can recover for their landlord’s failure to pay relocation assistance.

If you have been wrongfully evicted, or are facing the prospect of wrongful eviction, in violation of the Oakland Rent Ordinance, contact Astanehe Law for your free consult.

If your landlord has violated the Oakland Rent Ordinance, contact Astanehe Law immediately at (415) 226-7170 or contact@astanehelaw.com for your free consultation. One of our experienced tenants’ rights attorneys will be able to speak with you and equip you with the knowledge necessary to fight back against your landlord’s abuse. Astanehe Law knows tenant rights!