Eviction Process

Oakland is a “just cause” city. This means that a property owner must have a “just cause” to evict a tenant. These “just causes” are outlined in the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance described below.

The RAP does not hear eviction cases. In order to perform an eviction, a property owner must go through the court system. The eviction process is complex. It is recommend that anyone going through the eviction process seeks legal assistance.

There are three parts to the eviction process:

1. Notice of Eviction or Notice Terminating Tenancy. This is a notice informing the tenant of the property owners intent to begin the eviction process. Most notice of evictions are required to be given at least 30 days or 60 days before the date of eviction. If the reason for the eviction is the tenants fault (like not paying rent or illegal activity), the property owner can issue a 3-day notice of eviction.

2. Unlawful Detainer. At the end of the period given in the notice of eviction, the property owner can file an unlawful detainer or eviction lawsuit. This lawsuit is filed with the County Superior Court. Once filed, the tenant has five (5) days to respond to the court. If the tenant does not respond in time, the case may be granted in favor of the property owner.

3. Writ of Possession. If the court decides in favor of the property owner they will issue a writ of possession. This writ orders the tenant to move out of the unit within five days. After five days, the sheriff’s department is required to remove the tenant.

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.

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 something illegal (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
    • disabled
    • 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.

Eviction for Nuisance and Illegal Activity

Evictions can also occur because of nuisance and illegal activity. Often rental property owners fail to take action to evict such tenants for a variety of reasons including:

  • neglect,
  • lack of knowledge of the illegal activity,
  • monetary gain from renting to the offending tenants,
  • or fear of retribution from the offending tenants.

The goals of evictions for nuisance and illegal activity are:

  • to expand the reasons property owners can evict tenants performing illegal activities on rental properties;
  • to penalize owners for not taking care of the nuisance or taking appropriate action against the offending tenants;
  • to allow property owners to ask the City to have the City Attorney to handle the eviction;
  • to allow owners to remove only the person performing the illegal activity and not other tenants who may be innocent.

What tenants can do

Best practices

  • If you have received a notice of eviction, contact a tenant advocacy organization for legal support or assistance. A list of organizations can be found on the Helpful Information page
  • If you have received a notice of eviction, remember that this is only the first step in the eviction process. The notice must include a statement explaining why the notice was issued.
  • If you feel the notice was issued in error, contact your property owner to discuss the error.
  • If your unit is not covered by Just Cause and you have lived in the unit for at least a year, then the property owner is required to give you a 60 days notice of eviction. If your unit is not covered and you have lived in your unit less than a year, a 30 days notice of eviction is required.
  • Make sure the notice is a valid cause for eviction. This can be done by reviewing the Just Cause for Eviction ordinance and the reasons it provides for evictions. These reasons are listed above.
  • Make sure that the owner provides all of the information and statements required in the notice (outlined below). If the owner does not include the required statements in the notice it can be used in your defense of the eviction.
  • Make sure the notice or eviction was filed by the owner to the RAP within ten (10) days of you receiving the notice. If the owner did not file the notice with RAP in this time, it can be used in your defense of the eviction.

What property owners can do

Best practices

  • To begin the eviction process, a property owner must first serve the tenant a notice of eviction or a notice terminating tenancy.
Within ten (10) days of service of a notice of eviction, a copy of the same notice and any accompanying materials must be filed with the Rent Board. Each notice will be indexed by property address with the Rent Adjustment Program.
  • All notice of evictions must include the following:
    • A statement describing the reason for eviction,
    • A statement saying that advice regarding the eviction notice is available from the Rent Board.
  • Where an eviction due to the owner or their family to move in, the notice must also contain the following:
    • A listing of all property owned by the intended future occupant(s),
    • The address of the property, if any, of the person moving in in which they claim a homeowner’s property tax exemption
  • Where an eviction is due to substantial rehabilitation, the notice must also contain:
    • A statement informing tenants of their right to payment under the Oakland Relocation Ordinance.
    • The following statement: “When the needed repairs are completed on your unit, the property owner must offer you the opportunity to return to your unit with a rental agreement containing the same terms as your original one and with the same rent (although landlord may be able to obtain a rent increase under the Oakland Residential Rent Arbitration Ordinance [O.M.C. Chapter 8.22, Article I).”
    • The estimated time required to complete the repairs and the expected date that the unit will be ready for move-in.