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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 ten Just Causes:

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Material violation of rental agreement after written notice to stop.
  3. Causing substantial damage to the unit.
  4. Tenant continues to disturb the peace and quiet enjoyment of other tenants after written notice to stop.
  5. Engaging in unlawful activity on the premises.
  6. Refusing to allow property owner access to make repairs, after receiving proper written notice.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Property owner withdraws unit from the rental market under state law (Ellis Act).
  10. 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 V – Just Cause Amendment

On November 8, 2022, Oakland voters passed Measure V 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 V Change?

1. Expands the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to apply to all residential rental units built after December 31, 1995 and residential vehicular facilities, with the exception of ground-up new construction units that have received a Certificate of Occupancy within the past 10 years.

Previously, the Just Cause Ordinance did not apply to units built after December 31, 1995. Owners of these units did not have to cite a “just cause” to evict a tenant. Measure V amended the Ordinance to require that owners of units built after 1995 cite a “just cause” to evict a tenant. Also, the new law requires that owners of rented Vehicular Residential Facilities (VRFs), such as recreational vehicles and tiny homes on wheels, cite a just cause to evict their tenants. This requirement applies if the VRF occupant is renting both the VRF and the space where it is located or is renting just the space where the VRF is located.

The exception to this requirement is ground-up new construction units that received a Certificate of Occupancy within the past 10 years, on a rolling basis. The exemption does NOT apply to units that were created as a result of rehabilitation, improvement or conversion of existing commercial or residential rental space. Also, this exemption is not permanent, as it applies only to units built within the past 10 years.

This change in the law applies to units that were previously exempt. As a result, this measure requires that owners of residential units built after 1995 and VRFs must have just cause to evict tenants and comply with relocation requirements when they evict for an owner move-in or to make repairs, unless some other exemption applies. These property owners are also required to pay the annual Rent Adjustment Program Service Fee, which is currently $101 per unit. The eviction moratorium will also apply to units previously exempt from the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.

2. Prohibits “no-fault” evictions to go into effect during the school year, if the household includes school-age children or educators employed by the Oakland Unified School District.

This means that for owners who wish to evict a tenant for certain “no-fault” evictions such as owner move-in or relocation for repairs, the notice to quit cannot expire during the regular school year as observed by Oakland Unified School District. This requirement applies to households with any minor children enrolled in school, and to households with educators who are employed by Oakland Unified.

3. Removes failure to sign a new lease as a ground for eviction.

Prior to the passage of Measure V, owners could evict a tenant if the tenant refused to sign a lease renewal with substantially identical terms as the current, expiring lease. Measure V removes this reason from the just causes. This means that while an owner can ask a tenant to sign a new lease that is substantially identical to the old lease, the owner cannot evict the tenant if the tenant refuses to sign.

When Does Measure V Go Into Effect?

Measure V became effective on December 30, 2022. Owners, with notices that expire after the effective date of the Ordinance, are subject to these Ordinance amendments and must cite a Just Cause to evict stated in the notice terminating the tenancy.

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.

By Phone

Phone: (510) 238-3721, Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Select Option 1 to speak to a Housing Counselor for any RAP or housing-related questions you might have. Topics can be, but are not limited to, tenant and property owner issues and concerns, Oakland rental housing laws, or how to file petitions or responses with RAP. Calls are generally limited to 10 minutes per person. 

Select Option 2 to speak to a Rent Registration Unit staff member for any registration-related questions that you may have. Note: The Rent Registration Unit does not provide any housing counseling. 

Per City policy, please allow us 72 hours to respond to your inquiry.


By Email 

If you would prefer an email response, you can email us. The RAP strives to return all emails within a seventy-two-hour timeframe.

Contact a RAP Housing Counselor at RAP@oaklandca.gov. Please include in your email your full name, your telephone number, your rental unit address, and a brief description of the issue regarding which you are calling. Housing Counselors answer non-registration-related inquiries only


Rent Registration Unit: If you have questions about the registration process, please contact the Rent Registration Unit staff at RentRegistry@oaklandca.gov. Note: Live Counseling Sessions [link to announcement w/ scheduled dates/times] on how to register your units on the rent registry portal are offered via Zoom. Rent Registration Unit staff only answers registration-related inquiries. Note: The Rent Registration Unit staff does not provide housing counseling. 

Hearings Unit: If you have issues or questions relating to your pending case, you must contact your Case Analyst directly. If you do not know who your Case Analyst is, you can email HearingsUnit@oaklandca.gov to find that information, or you can look up your case information here.


Petition and Response Review/Filing: You have the option to schedule an appointment for review of your petition or response before filing. To schedule an appointment for review, email RAP@oaklandca.gov. If you do not want your petition or response reviewed and are ready to file, please submit your petition or response to HearingsUnit@oaklandca.gov.

Eviction Notices: To file eviction notices online, click here. Eviction notices may also be scanned and submitted via email to EvictionNotices@oaklandca.gov. If you like a stamped copy of your eviction notice, you must mail us two copies of the eviction notice and included a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We do not provide confirmation of receipt for online or email submissions of eviction notices. 


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 and related materials. All new petitions and petition-related documents can be submitted by mail to the address above. 

Ellis Act Cases

All documents for Ellis Act cases must be mailed to 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 5313, Oakland, CA 94612. For more information on Ellis Act cases, click here.


Online Petition Filing

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


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 RAP form that you are looking for, you can email the Rent Adjustment Program at RAP@oaklandca.gov to obtain it.


Request a Document/Public Records Request (PRR)

To request documents related to a case, you can make a Public Records Request (PRR) here. Please note that all PRRs are public information. You can look up certain information related to cases through the RAP database.

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.

Join the RAP email list!

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