Articles Tagged with Oakland landlord-tenant attorney

lili-popper-29464-300x169The rights of tenants in San Francisco are protected by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance Act and the Rent Board it created. Generally, the Rent Board controls what landlords can charge, how the eviction process works, and how rentals must be re-marketed if an eviction has occurred in the past. However, there is a state law called the Ellis Act that can negatively impact tenants and bypass many of the rights guaranteed by the Rent Board.

What is the Ellis Act?

The Ellis Act is a California law that was passed in 1985 in response to the California Supreme Court case of Nash v. The City of Santa Monica as a way to allow landlords to evict tenants by essentially “going out of business.” Essentially, the Ellis Act is often practically applied when a landlord wants to withdraw all of the units in a multi-family building from the market either to divest themselves of the property or to turn the building into a condominium. At first blush, the Ellis Act seems to give landlords the right to evict tenants for the owner’s profit, which it certainly does, but it also provides a complex process that landlords must follow before they can withdraw a building from the market.

800px-For-rent-signIn Part II of our post on landlord-tenant legal issues, we answer your questions on security deposits, evictions, and unlawful detainers.

Rent and Security Deposits

A major expense most renters face is paying a rent or security deposit. Landlords can demand deposits equivalent to one to two months’ rent before a tenant moves in. In California, a landlord can charge the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit if the premises are unfurnished, and three months’ rent if they are furnished. Landlords can tack on one-half month’s rent if the tenant has a waterbed. Security deposits cannot be nonrefundable in California.

Bedbug_(PSF)Common law presumes a tenant’s right to habitable premises. Habitable generally means the landlord must:

  • Provide a clean and sanitary premises
  • Make repairs to or replace faulty or defective conditions within a reasonable time

Housing is one of the biggest concerns for many in the Bay Area.  While the high cost of housing in San Francisco has received national attention, the problem does not stop at the city’s border.  The cost of renting in Oakland and throughout Northern California continues to rise and the resulting shortage of affordable housing has left many renters feeling like they are at their landlord’s mercy.  It is important to remember renters have rights, in any economy, and our Oakland landlord-tenant law firm helps renters who have been mistreated by their landlord fight back.

Oakland Announces Moratorium on Evictions and Rent Increases

keysAccording to CBS SF, in an effort to stem this growing housing crisis Oakland City Council unanimously passed a 90-day moratorium on rent increases and evictions.  The Council hopes this period will give officials time to author and pass new rules to help protect renters.  Landlords opposed the measure and one called it merely showmanship.  The moratorium follows the Council’s vote back in October to approve funds for a program aimed at educating tenants about their rights.  Notably, however, that money hasn’t been released yet per one councilmember.