Oakland Rent Ordinance
Like San Francisco, Oakland has laws that regulate rents and protect tenants from eviction without just cause. This article covers information regarding Oakland’s Residential Rent Adjustment Program, which provides rent control protection for certain Oakland residential rental units. For information regarding evictions in Oakland, see TKVA’s FAQ re Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.
Is my apartment covered by Oakland’s Rent Control laws (“Oakland Residential Rent Adjustment Program”)?
Oakland’s Rent Control laws apply to Oakland rental properties in buildings that have two or more units and have an initial certificate of occupancy that was issued before January 1, 1983.
However, there are various exceptions to Oakland’s Rent Control laws. The following residential units are not covered:
1. Dwelling units in subsidized housing (e.g., Section 8 or HUD);
2. Motels and boarding houses where the tenant has not continually resided there for 30 or more days;
3. Hospitals, convents, monasteries, convalescent homes, or college dormitories;
4. Nonprofit cooperatives owned by a majority of the residents;
5. Substantially rehabilitated buildings; and
6. Apartments in three-unit buildings where the landlord lives in the building and has occupied one of the units as his or her principal residence for over a year.
How much can my landlord increase my rent under Oakland’s Rent Control laws?
If your unit is covered under Oakland’s Rent Control laws, your landlord may generally only increase your rent by the Bay Area annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) percentage increase for that year. An owner can increase rent more than the CPI rate in limited circumstances such as capital improvements, increased operating expenses, and deferred annual rent increases (also known as “banking,” as discussed below). No annual rent increase may exceed 10%, unless the CPI is above 10%. Rent increases may not exceed 30% within a 5-year period. A landlord must provide you with a written summary of the reasons for any increase greater than the CPI rate if you request one in writing. You can check the CPI percentages here: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/hcd/o/RentAdjustment/index.htm#rents
Your landlord can only increase your rent once in a 12 month period.
Can my landlord “bank” rent increases?
What is “banking”?
Landlords can “bank” or accumulate rent increases. Banking is when a landlord chooses not to impose a rent increase at the time it is due, but instead imposes it in later years. The landlord can take the previous annual percentage increases that have not yet been imposed and add those to the current annual percentage rent increase, and increase your rent by that total amount.
For example, let us assume that your landlord has not increased your rent for the past two years. The CPI increase for last year was 1.9%, and the CPI increase for the current year is 1.7%. Your landlord could thus increase your rent by 3.6% (1.9 + 1.7 = 3.6). If your rent was $1,000 per month, your landlord may therefore increase your rent by $36 to $1,036 per month. In Oakland, if a landlord is implementing banked rent increases, he cannot increase the rent by more than three times the current year CPI.
Is there a procedure my landlord must follow to increase my rent?
What is the procedure my landlord must follow to increase my rent?
Your landlord must provide you with a formal written notice of rent increase with all of the necessary disclosures. Your landlord must provide you with 30 days’ notice if your rent increase is 10% or lower, and 60 days’ notice if your rent increase is greater than 10%. If your landlord does not provide you with a proper written notice with the proper disclosures, the rent increase is invalid.
What can I do if I think my rent increase is improper?
If you believe your rent increase is improper, you can challenge the increase by filing a petition with the Oakland Rent Adjustment Program office. In most cases, the petition must be filed within 60 days of whichever is later: (1) the date the owner served the notice of rent increase, or (2) the date you first received a Notice to Tenants of the existence of the Residential Rent Adjustment Program from the landlord.
For more information on visit: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/hcd/s/RenterResources/DOWD008799