Understanding Evictions in Oakland

Just Cause Required for Eviction

The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance prohibits a property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or just cause. All units covered by the Rent Adjustment Program are also covered under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance. However, if your unit is not covered under RAP, it may still be covered under this ordinance.

You can read the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance here and its regulations here.

Just Cause is Required for Eviction (Oakland Municipal Code, Section 8.22.300)

In Oakland, a property owner can only terminate a tenancy or evict a tenant for JUST CAUSE. A Notice to Terminate or Evict must specify one of the following eleven Just Causes:

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Material violation of rental agreement after written notice to stop.
  3. Refusal to sign a new lease with substantially the same terms as the old lease.
  4. Causing substantial damage to the unit.
  5. Tenant continues to disturb the peace and quiet enjoyment of other tenants after written notice to stop.
  6. Engaging in unlawful activity on the premises.
  7. Refusing to allow property owner access to make repairs, after receiving proper written notice.
  8. The unit is the property owner’s principal residence and the property owner wants to move back into the unit, as provided in a rental agreement with the current tenants.
  9. Property owner wants to use the rental unit as a principal residence for property owner of record or owner’s spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or grandparent.
  10. Property owner withdraws unit from the rental market under state law (Ellis Act).
  11. Property owner seeks to make substantial repairs that cannot be made while the unit is occupied, and which affect the health and safety of tenants in the building.

NOTE: The expiration of a rental agreement, the sale of a property (including transfers due to FORECLOSURE), conversion to condominium, or changes in the federal Section 8 status of a unit are not “good causes” for eviction under Oakland law.

ATTENTION: EVICTIONS CAN BE COMPLICATED. IF YOU GET AN EVICTION NOTICE OR ARE CONTEMPLATING SERVING A NOTICE ON YOUR TENANT CALL A RAP HOUSING COUNSELOR AT (510) 238-3721 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

THE NOTICE TO TERMINATE A TENANCY IS THE FIRST STEP IN AN EVICTION ACTION. TO SUCCEED, A PROPERTY OWNER MUST PROVIDE THE TENANT WITH THE CORRECT LEGAL NOTICE. A TENANT MAY HAVE GROUNDS TO CHALLENGE THE NOTICE AND THE SUBSEQUENT EVICTION ACTION.

All eviction notices must include grounds for eviction, and a statement that advice regarding eviction is available from the Rent Adjustment Program. Specific language is found in the Just Cause Regulations. A copy of every eviction notice must be filed with the Rent Adjustment Program within 10 days after it is served on the tenant. A property owner’s failure to file this notice is a defense to any resulting Unlawful Detainer action. The Rent Adjustment Program keeps these notices for one (1) year.

Measure Y – Just Cause Amendment

On November 6, 2018, Oakland voters passed Measure Y to amend the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance. The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance (“Ordinance”) generally prohibits landlords from evicting tenants from residential rental units covered by the Ordinance without specified just cause grounds.

What Does Measure Y Change?

  1. Removes the Just Cause Exemption for Owner-Occupied Duplexes and Triplexes

Previously, the Ordinance did not apply to owner-occupied duplexes or triplexes if the occupying owner had at least a one-third interest in the property - such units were exempt. Measure Y amended the Ordinance to add owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes to the units that are covered by the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance. This change in the law would apply to units that are currently exempt and to any future duplexes and triplexes even if one of the units becomes owner-occupied. As a result, this measure requires that landlords in owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes have just cause to evict tenants and comply with relocation requirements when they evict for owner move-in or repairs, unless some other exemption applies. Property owners are also required to pay the annual Rent Adjustment Program Service Fee, which is currently $101 per unit.

2. Gives City Council Authority to Add Eviction Requirements

Because the Oakland voters adopted the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance, they must approve any change to the Ordinance. The Ordinance specifies just cause grounds for eviction and provides additional prerequisites to evictions, such as providing proper notice. Measure Y allows the City Council, without returning to the voters, to amend the Ordinance to add additional limitations on a landlord’s right to evict, e.g., mandating compliance with certain rules and standards, such as, but not limited to, providing a proper notice.

When Does Measure Y Go Into Effect?

Measure Y became effective on December 21, 2018. Owners with notices that expired after the effective date of the Ordinance must have a Just Cause to evict stated in the notice terminating tenancy.

Which residential units are covered by the Just Cause Ordinance?

Under this Ordinance, the types of dwellings that are covered and have eviction protections are as follows:

  • Most Apartments*
  • Most Condos*
  • Owner-occupied Duplex and Triplex Complexes
  • Single Room Occupancy hotels (SRO)
  • Section 8 Voucher/Subsidized Housing
  • Single Family Homes

*If you are unsure of whether or not your unit is covered under the Just Cause Ordinance, please contact a RAP Housing Counselor. Our contact information is below.

Info Sheets

Just Cause and Rent Control Coverage Flyer

Just Cause is Required for Eviction

Measure Y – Just Cause Amendment

About

ABOUT THE RENT ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM

The Oakland City Council adopted the Rent Adjustment Program Ordinance (OMC Chapter 8.22) in 1980. This ordinance sets the maximum annual rent increase based on the annual CPI increase and handles rent adjustments for claims of decreases in housing services and handles other rent-related matters. The purpose of this program is to foster fair housing for a diverse population of renters and enforce the Rent Adjustment Ordinance set out by the City of Oakland.

Contact Us

*Due to the Shelter-in-Place Order issued on March 16, 2020, all in-person counseling and form drop-offs have been canceled. Please read the information below carefully to find the best way to contact us.

By Phone:

Phone: (510) 238-3721 | Fax: (510) 238-6181

RAP staff members are available from Monday to Thursday, 9:30am to 4:30pm to answer any RAP or housing-related questions you might have. Calls are generally limited to 10 minutes per person.

By Email:

Email (for all inquiries): rap@oaklandca.gov.

To contact the Hearings Unit, you can email them at hearingsunit@oaklandca.gov. If you are initiating a new petition or have a case pending and need to submit petition-related documents, you must email the Hearings Unit.

All eviction notices should be scanned and submitted via email to evictionnotices@oaklandca.gov.

By Mail:

Address: 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 5313

Oakland, CA 94612

Due to the Shelter-in-Place Order, we are no longer accepting in-person petition applications and related materials in our office. All new petitions and petition-related documents can be submitted by mail to the address above.

All documents for Ellis Act cases must be mailed to 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 5313, Oakland, CA 94612.

Online Petition Filing:

We also offer an online portal where you can submit your petitions and all petition-related forms online. Click here to access the portal.

For a full list of documents, click here to access all tenant forms and here for all property owner forms.

Request a Form:

General forms can be found on our website. For property owner forms, click here. For tenant forms, click here. If you cannot find the form you want, you can email the Rent Adjustment Program at rap@oaklandca.gov to obtain it.

To request documents related to a case, make a Public Records Request (PRR) here. Please note that all PRRS are considered public information. You can also look up information related to cases through our database here.

JOIN THE EMAIL LIST

If you would like to receive emails about upcoming events or updates from the Rent Adjustment Program, please sign up! Please use the link below to add your name and email to our list for future updates.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VDB6CLX