Oakland Tenant Lawyer
Tenant protections are an increasingly common topic throughout the U.S., particularly in cities witnessing rapidly rising rents and predatory landlord behavior. Oakland, California, is one of the cities that has decided to move beyond conversation and take steps to protect local tenants. In November 2017, the Oakland City Council unanimously voted to expand its Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), which has provisions regarding rent control, habitability, evictions, and harassment.
If you live in Oakland and believe your landlord is violating one or more landlord-tenant ordinance, you need to speak with an Oakland tenant lawyer from Willoughby Brod, LLP. A violation of a tenant protection law may be a misunderstanding and quickly remedied. However, your landlord may be intentionally violating your rights, and an attorney will help you correct the situation or seek compensation for your damages.Oakland Rent Control
Under Oakland’s TPO, landlords can raise rent once per year. After you move into an apartment, your landlord can only raise your rent 12 months after your move-in date and then again 12 months after the previous rent increase. Your landlord cannot raise your rent multiple times per year or within the first year of you living in the property.
When your unit is covered by rent control, your landlord can only raise your rent by the amount allowed each year, which is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and never by more than 10% of your current rent. Each year, Oakland uses the CPI to determine the allowable annual increase in rent, which goes into effect July 1.
If you have any questions regarding which rate is in effect at the time of your rental increase and why, call an Oakland tenant attorney. As of January 2018, the current CPI rate is 2.3%. The next CPI rate will go into effect as of July 1, 2018, and remain in effect through June 30, 2019.
Your landlord can raise your rent up to the CPI percentage, so long as that is not more than 10% of your rent. However, there are also multiple exceptions as to when a landlord can raise your rent above the CPI amount. The most common is known as “banking,” which occurs when a landlord does not use its allowable increase each year and saves them up. A landlord may not raise your rent for three years, however in the fourth year, it may choose to implement all of the previous year’s increases at once.
If your landlord is trying to raise your rent in violation of Oakland’s rent control provisions, do not hesitate to call a Willoughby Brod, LLP right away. Our tenant lawyers practice in Oakland and are well-versed in rent control issues. We will review whether your unit falls under Oakland rent control provisions or is exempt and then guide you through your options.Oakland Eviction Protections
Oakland requires landlords to have “just cause” to evict a tenant. Under the TPO, just cause includes:
- Tenant has not paid rent
- Tenant refuses to sign an identical lease when the previous lease expires
- Tenant or guests cause significant property damage and refuse to stop or pay for repairs
- Tenant conducts illegal activity on the property
- Tenant has violated the terms of the lease after written notice to cease the violation
- Tenant is a nuisance and disturbs other tenants after written notice to stop
- Tenant refuses to let landlord enter the apartment, even with proper notice
- The landlord wants to move back into the unit, which is allowed in the lease or other written agreement with the tenant
- The landlord or a family member wants to live in the unit
- The landlord is removing the unit from the market
- The landlord wants to make substantial upgrades to the unit
To properly evict you, a landlord must have just cause and then provide you with proper notice of the eviction process. You should receive notice in writing 30 or 60 days before the day the landlord is set to file an eviction case in court. You should speak with an Oakland tenant attorney after receiving such notice. If the notice is in violation of your rights or based on a misunderstanding, an attorney can help you clear up the issue. However, if the landlord moves forward with filing an unlawful detainer suit, then your attorney is prepared to respond within the required five days.
You may not be able to stop an eviction. However, depending on why you are evicted, you may have the right to relocation payments.Protection From Harassment
The TPO states that landlords cannot harass or intimidate tenants. This includes but is not limited to:
- Failing to provide necessary services
- Failing to make repairs
- Threatening to not provide services
- Abusing their right of access to the property
- Threatening a tenant with physical harm
- Violating the tenant’s right to privacy
- Threatening to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Committing acts that disturb a tenant’s comfort, peace, or quiet
- Refusing to acknowledge receipt of tenant’s rent
If your landlord is harassing you in any way, immediately call a tenant lawyers in Oakland to discuss your rights and options. You must go through the proper process to correct the problem. If the landlord does not improve, then you may have a civil claim against him or her.Let Willoughby Brod, LLP Help You
If you rent property in Oakland and believe you are being treated unfairly or unlawfully by your landlord, the best thing you can do is speak with an experienced lawyer. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we are here to review your situation, explain your rights, and guide you through the best next steps.