Rent Adjustment Ordinance
The RAP covers all property used for residential rental housing with several exceptions. For a full list of exemptions please visit the Exemptions page
The three most common exemptions from RAP are:
- the unit is government subsidized housing.
- the unit is newly construction units (built after January 1, 1983).
- the unit is a single family home or condominium exempt under the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Cal. Govt. C. §1954.50, et seq.).
If a property is exempt from RAP, none of the rules regarding Rent Adjustment apply. But, the rules about eviction controls (Just Cause for Evictions) may still apply.
The Rent Adjustment Ordinance can be found in section 8.22 of the Oakland Municipal Code (link below). The Ordinance is split into the following articles, or sections, all of which may be important for a RAP petition:
- Article 1: Residential Rent Adjustment Program. This section outlines the rules governing the RAP and the RAP petition process.
- Article 2: Just Cause for Eviction. This section outlines the rules outlining when an owner can and cannot evict a tenant.
- Article 3: Terminating Tenancy to Withdraw Residential Rental Units from the Rental Market. This section outlines the process for removing a rental unit from the market through the Ellis Act.
- Article 4: Rent Program Service Fee. This section outlines the requirements for paying the RAP service fee.
- Article 5: Tenant Protection Ordinance. This section outlines the rules surrounding the Tenant Protect Ordinance.
What the ordinance covers
The Ordinance and Rent Board Regulations allow for an increase instead of the annual general CPI increase for any of the following reasons: Banking (deferred annual increases), Capital Improvements, Debt Service Costs ), Increased Housing Service Costs (operating expenses), (casualty loss), and Fair Return (profit from investment). Any of these increases may be greater than the CPI increase.See more about rent increases
Notable changes in the ordinance
The City Council adopted two ordinances that made changes to the Rent Adjustment Program (Ordinance No. 13391 C.M.S.), on July 22, 2016, and on September 20, 2016, (Ordinance No. 13373 C.M.S.). On November 8, 2016, Oakland voters passed Measure JJ, which further amends the Rent Adjustment Ordinance. Regulations that reflect these Ordinance changes were adopted by the City Council on January 17, 2017. Final passage of the amended Rent Adjustment Ordinance was adopted by the City Council on February 7, 2017.
Effective 2/1/17, 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. For a full overview of these changes, please see the Notice of Changes to the Rent Adjustment Ordinance.
Previous Ordinance Versions
Residential Rent Adjustment Ordinance – effective August 1, 2014
Residential Rent Adjustment Ordinance – effective January 17, 2007
Previous Ordinance – effective from October 2003 – December 2006
Previous Ordinance – effective from July 2002 – September 2003
Previous Ordinance – effective from August 2000 – June 2002
Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance
The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance prohibits a property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or just cause. All units covered by the RAP 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.
On November 8, 2016, Oakland voters passed Measure JJ, which further amended the new construction exemption under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to buildings in which a certificate of occupancy was issued after December 31, 1995.
This ordinance defines good or just cause for an eviction as the following:
- The tenant has not paid their rent
- The tenant has continued to violate a provision of the lease after written notice to stop.
- The tenant refused to sign a new lease that is identical to the old one (when the old one expires.)
- The tenant has substantially damaged the unit and refused to stop damaging it or pay for repairs after written notice.
- The tenant has continued to disturb other tenants and neighbors after written notice to stop.
- The tenant uses the unit for for illegal activity (like selling drugs).
- The tenant will not let the owner into the apartment, even with a 24 hours’ written notice.
- The owner wants to move back into the unit, if allowed by a written agreement with the tenant or it is allowed by the lease.
- The owner or family member wish to move into the unit. Except if the tenant is:
- 60 years or older
- catastrophically ill
- The owner wants to remove the unit from the market through the Ellis act.
- The owner wants to perform substantial upgrades to the unit which cannot be completed with the tenant living there.
Previous Ordinance Versions
The Ellis Act Ordinance
The Ellis Act allows owners to permanently withdraw rental units from the market. The City of Oakland has specific requirements that must be followed when removing a property through the the Ellis Act.
The procedures in the City of Oakland for compliance with the Ellis Act can be found in Sections 8.22.400 through 8.22.480 of the Oakland Municipal Code .
Removing a rental unit from the rental market is a serious and complicated matter. Owners are encouraged to seek and obtain legal advice concerning their own particular circumstances. Once a tenant is given a “Notice of Termination” and vacates any unit on the property, the application cannot be withdrawn.
The Ellis Act process begins with the owner filing with the RAP a series of documents called the “Withdrawal Notices”. Notices must be signed by all owners of record and are subject to penalty for perjury. These required notices consist of:
- the notice to tenants of termination
- the notice to the RAP
- a certification recorded in the recorder’s office, plus filing fee).
The removal of the unit is effective 120 days after filing the Withdrawal Notices. If the tenant is sixty-two (62) years of age or older and/or disabled, the withdrawal is effective one (1) year.
All rental units on the property must be removed through an Ellis Act withdrawal. The Ellis Act cannot be used to withdraw a rental unit during a fixed term lease. Also, it cannot be used to retaliate or discriminate against a tenant.
Low-income households are entitled to relocation assistance. This assistance is for two months rent effective at the time of the notice of termination.
Owners must notify the RAP if they intend to rent a withdrawn property. If within ten years the unit is rented, former tenants must be offered the first chance to rent, if they provide notice of interest.
Previous Regulation Versions
Tenant Protection Ordinance
The Tenant Protection Ordinance (“TPO”) provides tenants legal recourse if they are harassed by their property owner. The TPO is meant to deter harassment by property owners. The TPO provides civil remedies for violations.
The TPO defines harassment as the owner doing one of the following in bad faith:
- Threaten to or interrupt, terminate, or fail to provide housing services .
- Fail to perform repairs and maintenance.
- Failing to perform due diligence when completing repairs. For example, not minimizing exposure to noise, dust, lead paint, mold, asbestos, or other building materials with potentially harmful health impacts.
- Abuse the Owner’s right of access to the rental unit.
- Remove personal property, furnishings, or any other items without the prior written consent of the tenant.
- Intimidate or threaten to report the tenant to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
- Offer payments to a Tenant to vacate more than once in six (6) months.
- Attempt to coerce a Tenant to vacate with offer(s) of payments to vacate in addition to threats or intimidation.
- Threaten the tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm.
- Substantially and directly interfere with a Tenant’s right to quiet use and enjoyment of the rental unit.
- Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of a Tenant’s lawful rent payment.
- Refuse to cash a rent check for over thirty (30) days unless a written receipt for payment has been provided to the Tenant.
- Interfere with a Tenant’s right to privacy.
- Request information that violates a Tenant’s right to privacy.
- Commit repeated acts to substantially interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of any tenant.
- Remove a housing service for the purpose of causing the Tenant to vacate the rental unit.
The TPO requires owners to post a notice of the TPO in rental units located in a building with an interior common area. The notice must be placed in at least one such common area in the building using the form prescribed by the City Staff. Notices can be found in the Additional Documents pages
Before a Tenant may file a violation of the TPO, the Tenant must first notify the Owner of the problem. The tenant must allow fifteen (15) days for the owner to correct the problem. The owner can notify the tenant that the repairs will take more than fifteen (15) days. In this case, the owner must provide a reasonable time period for completion. If the repair takes more than fifteen (15) days, the tenant may file if the owner does not take steps to start addressing the problem. The tenant may also file if the owner does not follow through to complete the repairs with reasonable diligence.Current Ordinance
Oakland City Council Ordinance No. 13265 C.M.S. – adopted November 5, 2014.
The Costa Hawkins Act
The Costa Hawkins Act, a state law passed in 1995, preempts cities from putting any restrictions on how much property owners could raise rents when tenants vacated the premises, known as vacancy control. Costa Hawkins applies mainly to single family homes and condominiums. It also exempts buildings built after 1995 from rent control. In Oakland, this means that rents for about one third of the rental housing stock cannot be regulated.Current Ordinance