Oakland is a “Just Cause for Eviction” city, which means a landlord cannot evict a tenant unless he or she can prove “just cause” in at least one of 11 ways. The Oakland Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance lays out the specific conditions under which landlords are permitted to evict their tenants in Oakland. This ordinance, along with the Oakland Rent Adjustment Program (RAP), is one of the most important housing protections for residents of Oakland as it prevents tenants from losing their homes due to a change in property ownership, inability to raise rent, or other reason unrelated to the tenant’s behavior.
To Whom the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance Applies
The Oakland Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance applies to almost all tenants in Oakland who are living in buildings built before 1996, but there are several exceptions. If one of the following exceptions applies to your current housing situation, then you are not covered under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance:
- The building you live in contains only two or three units, and your landlord lives in one of those units,
- Your landlord lives in your building and shares the kitchen or bathroom with you,
- The rental unit you live in is in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or health facility,
- The rental unit you live in is in a nonprofit facility where treatment programs and structured living programs can be found, or
- The building you live in has a certificate of occupancy for new construction from after December 31, 1995.
When Your Landlord has “Just Cause” to Evict You in Oakland
As long as one of the above exceptions does not apply to you, you are covered by the Oakland Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance and cannot be evicted unless your landlord can prove one of the following 11 “just causes” for evicting you:
- You failed to pay rent,
- You materially violated your rental agreement,
- You refused to sign a written extension or renewal that has materially the same terms as the original agreement,
- You substantially damaged the property,
- You engaged in disorderly conduct on the property,
- You rented the unit for illegal purposes,
- You continually deny your landlord access to the unit,
- Your landlord previously occupied your unit and now wants to re-occupy the unit per a prior contract with you,
- Your landlord wishes to occupy your unit in good faith to use as a primary residence for a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or grandparent (note that this provision does not apply if you are 60 years or older, disabled, or catastrophically ill),
- Your landlord wishes to permanently remove your unit from the rental market (known as an Ellis Act eviction), or
- Your landlord wishes to make repairs to your unit which require your temporary eviction for no more than three months.
What to do if Your Landlord Evicted You Without Just Cause
If you were evicted in violation of the Oakland Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance, you may be able to recover from your landlord for damages you incurred as a result of being unjustly evicted. The attorneys at Willoughby Brod are experienced in representing tenants who were unjustly evicted in Oakland and are here to fight for your rights. Contact us at (800) 427-7020 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.
(image courtesy of Antonina Bukowska)