Loss of service
Decreased Housing Services
City and state laws list some things that are required in all rental units. When the property owner does not fix problems in a timely manner, this can be considered a loss of service. Property owners should stay up to date with the requirements issued by the City of Oakland, County of Alameda and State of California, Department of Consumer Affairs.
A decrease in housing services, such as a broken dishwasher and a broken window, is considered an increase in rent. A tenant may petition for an adjustment in rent based on a loss of service originally provided or a serious problem with the condition of the rental unit under the regulations. The tenant’s petition must specify the service(s) that has decreased or been lost.
Change in Lease Terms
Another example of loss of service is when the tenant is charged for services originally paid by the property owner. For example, if the property owner asks a tenant to pay their own utilities (water, gas, electricity), get rid of a pet, take responsibility for more maintenance work in the unit or sign a year-long lease instead of a month-to-month like before.
What tenants can do
- It is extremely important to communicate all issues with your property owner.
- If any items need repair, make your request in writing to your property owner.
- Keep record of all communication, along with the dates. Email is one good way.
- If your property owner doesn’t respond, you can call the Oakland Code Compliance office at (510) 238-3381, Monday through Friday 9:00am-4:30pm. They will send an inspector out and issue a Notice of Violation to the property owner.
NOTE / Make sure you get the inspector’s name and phone number and call back to get a copy of the Notice of Violation .
- If the repair still isn’t made, call the inspector and request a re-inspection.
To learn more about your rights regarding code violations, contact a tenant right counselor or lawyer .
File a petition with the Rent Adjustment Program
Tenants may challenge a loss of service or rent increase if they believe it is more than the allowed annual CPI increase.
- Within 90 days of receiving the notice of rent increase with a RAP Notice OR
- Within 120 days of receiving the notice of rent increase if the tenant did not receive the RAP Notice.
What property owners can do
- Do regular check-ins with tenants and make sure they have a safe and decent place to live.
- If they submit a request for repairs, respond to it in a timely manner and keep a copy of the response.
- Resolve the issue by making a good, solid repair.
- Keep records of the invoices and receipts for any contracting services.
- The tenant has the option to withdraw the petition if you can fix the issue.
If a tenant has filed a petition against you
- Respond to the petition using the form that was mailed you to. You can also submit it online .