OAKLAND, CA – Late last night, Oakland City Council passed legislation to sunset the COVID-19 eviction moratorium in a responsible manner, as well as add new permanent tenant protections. The legislation was co-authored by Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and Council President Pro Tempore Dan Kalb, who also co-authored the 2020 eviction moratorium. (View legislation here and presentation here.)
“I’ve fought for housing as a human right and more affordable housing because neighborhoods in my district are experiencing intense displacement. The zip code 94606 which includes the Eastlake and San Antonio neighborhoods had the most eviction notices filed since 2018 — 2,066 notices,” said Council President Bas. “During the unprecedented global pandemic, our eviction moratorium met its goal of keeping people housed and preventing homelessness for many Oaklanders. I’m proud to have led the Council’s work to end the moratorium responsibly, with time to inform and support tenants and property owners before the end date of July 15, and I’m grateful that we added new tenant protections to help avoid the eviction cliff that we see happening in other cities.”
“Oakland’s eviction moratorium has kept renters in their homes during risky and unprecedented times and undoubtedly kept many from becoming homeless. I’m proud of our City Council for taking this important step to gradually end the moratorium in a way that provides a transition time for tenants and property owners to work together on addressing outstanding rental payment," said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, one of the authors of the original eviction moratorium. "For so many, the pandemic has left an indelible financial and emotional impact. With this phase out, the Oakland Council and our Rent Adjustment Program staff stand prepared to assist both property owners and tenants navigate this next step."
“How we transition out of a moratorium that prevented thousands of tenants from becoming homeless will determine whether Oakland can prevent another housing crisis. The strongest protections possible are needed. I applaud the leadership of Council President Bas and Councilmember Kalb. This legislation will keep Oakland families housed as we move up and out of the pandemic,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director for ACCE Institute.
In March 2020, Councilmembers Bas and Kalb authored and passed the residential eviction moratorium in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to promote housing stability, encourage compliance with shelter-in-place orders, prevent transmission of COVID-19, and avoid unnecessary displacement and increased homelessness.
The last three years of the pandemic have been unprecedented. Oakland’s eviction moratorium — one of the strongest in the state — met the challenges of keeping Oakland residents housed and curbing the spread of COVID-19, while other measures provided emergency rental assistance, mortgage relief, legal services, and other support.
The new ordinance establishes a timeline to end the moratorium, rather than leaving the expiration date tied to the end of the Local COVID-19 Emergency. The current eviction moratorium will continue until July 14, 2023 and end on July 15, 2023. The time between now and mid-July will allow for outreach, education, and referral to services to support tenants and property owners with the changes in law. The timeline is as follows:
Now through July 14, 2023 — current eviction moratorium continues
July 15, 2023 — eviction moratorium and late fee moratorium end
July 1, 2024 — rent increase moratorium ends
New permanent tenant protections will codify the COVID eviction protection and create a threshold of one month of HUD fair market rent for non-payment of rent evictions, among other things. The ordinance will have its second reading for final passage on May 2, 2023.
The City Council encourages tenants and property owners to seek assistance from the Rent Adjustment Program, and property owners to access the California Mortgage Relief Program if they qualify.
Current Oakland Eviction Moratorium (in effect):
Applies to all properties covered by the Oakland Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance, Measure EE.
- Major exemptions:
The landlord lives in the unit with the tenant and shares a bathroom or kitchen; or
Property was built in the last 10 years
- Current causes for eviction:
The tenant created an imminent health/safety threat at the property; or
The landlord is removing the unit(s) from the rental market for at least 10 years (Ellis Act)
- Late fees:
Unless there is a lease provision to the contrary, no late fees for unpaid rent
- Current rent restrictions (rent increase moratorium):
For rent-controlled properties, the landlord can raise the rent, but not above the cap of 3%
No pass-through increases or banking are allowed
- Current end date
When City Council ends the Oakland COVID-19 State of Emergency.
New Sunset of Eviction Moratorium
Now through July 14, 2023 — current eviction moratorium remains in place
July 15, 2023: Eviction moratorium and late fee moratorium end
July 1, 2024: Rent increase moratorium ends
Existing rent increase moratorium is a 3% cap with no pass throughs or banking. After July 1, 2024, only the 3% cap will continue.
Just Cause Ordinance
These Permanent Tenant Protections will be added:
For evictions based on non-payment of rent that accrued between March 9, 2020 and July 14, 2023, tenants will have a defense if the rent was unpaid due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to evict a tenant for breach of lease, the landlord must prove that the breach of lease is based on a term that the tenant accepted in writing
Tenant cannot be evicted for owing less than 1 month of HUD fair market rent
Conform occupancy limitations to State Law