Understand the New ‘Just Cause’ Oakland Eviction Rules

Severe housing shortages and persistent COVID economic impact in the Oakland metro area are finally moving the needle in favor of stricter tenants’ rights regarding eviction protection.

Oakland voters made their support for at-risk tenants clear in November of 2022: 69.3% voted “yes” to ballot measure V – providing new, expansive “just cause” eviction protections that could impact up to 13,000 Oakland renters. “Just cause” means landlords must provide an explanation or reason to tenants they attempt to evict. The rules seek to safeguard tenants from bad faith actions.

Here are the five important amendments to the 2018 Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance voters approved:

    1. Eviction Protection for Educators, Households with School-Age Children

The disruption of eviction puts school-age children at risk for academic and social failure. The new ordinance prohibits no-fault evictions of teachers, school support staff and households with a minor enrolled in school (or a relative of the tenant) while the school year is in session.

    1. New Protection for Tenants in Older Buildings

Oakland is one of the last Bay Area cities to exempt landlords from just cause eviction rules because their units are “newly constructed.”

For decades this meant Oakland apartments built in 1996 or later were designated too recently constructed to grant eviction protection to tenants. The aim was to allow landlords an extended period of time to recoup their initial constructions costs. That rule was struck down by Measure V: now a rolling 10-year period will be the gauge by which “older buildings” are measured. In other words, apartments built 26 years ago are no longer considered “new” and exempt. In 2023, only apartments built during or after 2013 will be exempt from just cause evictions.

    1. Extended Eviction Protections for RVs, Tiny Homes

The same rolling 10-year period for newly constructed apartments also applies to rental “vehicular residential facilities.” This includes both recreational vehicles and tiny homes on wheels located in permitted use areas. ADUs – accessory dwelling units – are not covered by the new rules.

    1. Failure of Tenant to Sign a new Long-Term Lease Agreement

Measure V also clarifies protection for tenants who may be unwilling to commit to a long-term lease renewal. Landlords may not treat the tenant’s decision as a just cause for eviction. They must instead provide an option for month-to-month rental.

    1. Oakland Landlord-Owner Move-in Rules Tightened

Landlords who decide to move into an apartment they own (or provide it to house a relative) must follow carefully crafted rules. They must take possession within three months of the tenant’s departure, and they must remain in the unit for three years. If they opt to leave earlier, the prior tenant has the right to return, at the same rental rate they formerly paid.

A Vision for Rental Housing Security

Measure V was initially proposed by Oakland Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Carroll Fife. The tenant protections recommended in the measure earned the support of the Oakland City Council. Due to their efforts, stronger protections are now in place to fight evictions by landlords without a just cause. If you think you are facing an illegal eviction under the new rules, seek legal help immediately.

Know Your Rights. Protect Yourself.

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Real Estate Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mary Catherine Wiederhold
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