City of Oakland Tenant Protections

The information below is provided by Tenants Together and based partially on research conducted by the Urban Displacement Project. Last update in October 2018. For complete information on the City's tenant protections, please visit their website here.

Disclaimer: This website is for general information and none of the information provided constitutes legal advice. In addition, please note that ordinances are periodically updated, modified, or interpreted by regulations. We recommend contacting the City for the official version of its law in the event that you intend to rely on this information.

Rent control is effective at keeping people in their homes. Rent control policies limit rent increases and provide greater housing stability for tenants. Rent control ordinances in California allow landlords to set the initial rent in any amount, but limit rent increases after a tenancy begins.

Rent control is often combined with eviction protections, known as "just cause for eviction," to make sure that landlords do not get around the rent increase limits by simply evicting tenants arbitrarily and bringing in new tenants. Just Cause protections provide basic fairness and prevent retaliation, discrimination, and harassment proactively.


Rating 1
What regulations does the City have? Just Cause and Rent Control Protections
Year Just Cause was Originally Adopted 2003
Year of Most Recent Just Cause Amendment 2017
Year Rent Control Originally Adopted 2002
Year of Most Recent Rent Control Amendment 2017

Just Cause Protections Summary

What causes for eviction are considered just cause - tenant at-fault?
  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violation of lease after written notice to stop
  • Refusal to sign new identical lease after the old has expired
  • Tenants continues to damage unit after written notice
  • Tenant disturbs other units
  • Illegal use of property
  • Tenant will not let the owner into the apartment, even with a 24 hours’ written notice
  • Nuisance/illegal activity
What causes for eviction are considered just cause - no-fault?
  • Owner move-in
  • The owner or family member wish to move into the unit. Except if the tenant has lived in the unit for five or more years and is 60 years or older, disabled, or catastrophically ill
  • Market removal (Ellis act)
  • Substantial renovation
Key Exemption Summary A rental unit or rental units contained in a building that has a certificate of occupancy for the new construction of the unit or building in which the rental unit(s) is contained is issued on or after December 31, 1995.

(This exemption applies only to rental units that were newly constructed from the ground up and does not apply to units that were created as a result of rehabilitation, improvement or conversion of commercial space, or other residential rental space.)

If no certificate of occupancy was issued for the rental unit or building, in lieu of the date a certificate of occupancy, the date the last permit for the new construction was finalized prior to occupancy shall be used.

Is there a minimum tenancy for coverage? No
Do protections apply to new construction? No, only applies to buildings with a certificate of occupancy before 12/31/1995
What triggers the obligation to pay relocation assistance?
  • Owner's withdrawal of the unit(s) from rental market
  • Owner/family move-in
  • Condo conversion

Rent Control Protections Summary

What units are eligible for rent control and which are exempt? Exempt units:
  • Subsidized Housing
  • Motels, hotels if occupancy not more than 30 days
  • Hospitals, dormitory, extended care facility, etc.
  • Non-profit cooperative owned and occupied by majority of residents
  • New construction (built after January 1st, 1983)
  • Substantial rehabilitation
  • 3 units or less owner occupied properties
  • The unit that an owner occupies in any building
  • Non-profit facility-homeless/substance abuse treatment
  • Unit in trust for developmental disabled
  • Shared facilities with owner and tenants (bath/kitchen)
  • Costa Hawkins: single family home or condominium
  • Vacant units
Additional Details The Oakland Rent Adjustment Ordinance (O.M.C. 8.22.070) allows an annual rent increase based on the regional Consumer Price Index (“CPI”). The “CPI rate” takes effect on each July 1 and remains in effect through June 30 of the following year. A property owner can raise rent above the CPI rate. One justification is “banking”.

“Banking” refers to deferred allowed annual rent increases. These annual rent increases are determined by the City and are also known as CPI increases or annual general rent increases. Annual rent increases that were not given, or were not given in full, can be carried forward to future years. Subject to certain limitations, property owners may defer giving annual general increases up to ten years. General increases that were not imposed within ten years expire. If challenged, evidence of the rental history of the subject unit is required.

Banking Allowed Yes
Does the landlord have to petition for additional increases? Yes
On what grounds is the landlord allowed to petition for additional rent increases? The Rent Ordinance requires property owners to petition for any rent increase not based on the CPI increase or Banking.

Property owners may also petition for an exemption from the RAP for qualifying properties.

Property owners may apply to remove a property from the rental market as allowed by the Ellis Act.

A property owner can raise rent above the CPI rate, based upon these justifications:
  • Increased housing service costs
  • Uninsured repair costs
  • Capital improvements
  • Fair return

Rent Board Summary

Does the City have a Rent Board? Yes
Is the Rent Board appointed or elected? Appointed
Number of Units Covered by Rent Control TBD
Number of Units Covered by Just Cause TBD