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Oakland Eliminates Rent Control Exemption For Owner-Occupied Duplexes And Triplexes

Oakland Eliminates Rent Control Exemption for Owner-Occupied Duplexes and Triplexes

Following up on our February and April reports on this subject, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously on June 4, 2019 to permanently remove the rent control exemption for owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes — a move that was expected given the current political climate — yet one which we expect to have negative consequences on rental housing availability. Here’s what you should know about these changes and how they may affect you:

Which units are affected?

In Oakland, all units of a multi-family dwelling with a certificate of occupancy issued before January 1, 1983 are subject to rent control under the city’s Rent Adjustment Program (RAP), with a few notable exceptions. One of these exceptions had been units in a duplex or triplex where the owner of the building occupied one of the other units. This exemption has now been removed, meaning all such units are now subject to the city’s rent control ordinance.

When does this change go into effect?

The change went into effect immediately after passage.

How will base rent levels be set?

The initial base rent for all newly covered units shall be the rent that was in effect for the rental unit on November 6, 2018. If no rent was in effect for the newly covered unit on November 6, 2018, the initial base rent shall be the first rent in effect after that date.

Can I petition for a rent increase retroactively?

The city is allowing for “transitional rent increase” petitions on these newly covered units in cases where the rent hadn’t been increased beyond a certain threshold prior to November 6, 2018. This will give landlords of these newly covered units a chance to “catch-up” on up to 3 years of RAP-approved rent increases depending on the length of the tenancy under that owner. The table below outlines the maximum allowable rent increases for tenancies with the same owner based on the start date of the tenancy. If the owner had not increased rents at all, or increased rents less than the allowable maximum, the difference up to that maximum may be petitioned for.

What is the deadline for petitioning for a transitional rent increase?

Petitions must be made to the rent board on or before June 30, 2020.

Will proof of RAP notices be required to petition for a transitional rent increase?

Yes. RAP notices must be served to tenants of newly covered units by August 3, 2019 in order to be deemed compliant with the RAP notice requirement. If you think you may be eligible to petition for a transitional rent increase, make sure you serve your tenants RAP notices immediately to avoid any complications down the road.

Where can I read the full ordinance?

To read the full language of the ordinance, click here to view it as a PDF.

Where can I get additional help?

We offer monthly classes on Oakland’s Rent and Eviction controls and encourage all landlords of rent controlled units to attend a class as a starting point before proceeding with a petition for a rent increase or a termination of tenancy. See our upcoming class schedule.

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