Oakland Tenants Now Protected From Pretextual and Technical Breach of Lease Violations
On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the Oakland City Council passed legislation strengthening the Oakland Rent Ordinance to protect Oakland tenants. The amendments limit pretextual evictions and evictions based on trivial or technical lease violations. Not every breach of lease warrants an eviction lawsuit. Now, Oakland tenants are protected from experiencing eviction based on technical or minor lease violations.
How Does the Amendment Protect Oakland Tenants?
The amendment protects Oakland tenants facing eviction for an alleged breach of their written lease agreement. Existing law requires the alleged breach of the written lease to constitute a substantial violation of a material term. Oakland Municipal Code § 8.22.360(A)(2). With the passage of the amendment, the landlord must demonstrate three (3) additional requirements:
- That the Oakland tenant’s alleged violation causes the landlord substantial actual injury, or another resident;
- The Oakland tenant’s conduct was unreasonable; and,
- The lease term is reasonable, lawful, and the Oakland tenant accepted it in writing. Oakland Municipal Code § 8.22.360(A)(2).
How Does the Oakland Municipal Code Define Actual Injury?
The new amendment contains a provision defining actual injury as, “a direct result of the tenant’s lease.” Oakland Municipal Code § 8.22.360(A)(2)(d). The law does not limit it to personal or physical injury, and substantial actual injury includes harm caused by the Oakland tenant’s failure to comply with income recertification requirements for certain affordable housing units. Id.
What Must the Oakland Tenant’s Written Notice to Cease Contain?
The amendment to the Oakland Rent Ordinance also mandates requirements for which landlords must comply when serving Oakland tenants with written notices to cease for substantial violations of their written lease agreements. Now, written notices to cease must contain the following information:
- The alleged violation, including citation to the specific lease term;
- The landlord’s or neighbor’s resultant injury; and,
- The violation date. Oakland Municipal Code § 8.22.360(A)(2)(e).
Further, the written notice to cease must be written so that a reasonable person may understand the text. Oakland Municipal Code § 8.22.360(A)(2)(e).
What Are Oakland Tenant Options When Faced With A Pretextual or Technical/Frivolous Eviction?
When the landlord serves an Oakland tenant with a pretextual or technical/frivolous written notice to cease or threatens to commence an eviction action against the Oakland tenant, the Oakland tenant may take the following steps:
- Report the landlord’s misconduct to the Oakland City Attorney’s office;
- Report the landlord’s misconduct to the California Attorney General;
- Contact a lawyer to discuss potential litigation to recover damages.
When Do the Amendments to the Oakland Rent Ordinance Take Effect?
The amendments to the Oakland Rent Ordinance take effect immediately.
What is the Best Law Firm to Handle an Oakland Tenant’s Wrongful Eviction Claim?
Astanehe Law is the best landlord-tenant law firm to handle Oakland tenants’ wrongful eviction claims, including wrongful evictions for alleged breach of lease violations. Astanehe Law has dealt with hundreds of landlord-tenant cases in California, including for many Oakland tenants. Astanehe Law has handled bad faith and pretextual wrongful eviction claims for Oakland tenants. The firm only represents California tenants, and never landlords. It is never too early to establish a relationship with an experienced Oakland tenant attorney when your landlord attempts to wrongfully evict you from your home. Contact Astanehe Law today to discuss your rights and options as an Oakland tenant.
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