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To maintain the availability of decent, affordable rental housing, the Oakland City Council adopted the Residential Rent Adjustment Program. The program is governed by Oakland Municipal Code Section 8.22 and by Rules and Procedures that have been adopted by the City Council.
Owners must give tenants the Notice to Tenants of the Rent Adjustment Program, available from the Rent Adjustment Program office or at this website (Notice to Tenants) at the beginning of their tenancy, advising them of the existence and scope of the Rent Adjustment Program.
- Owners must provide the same Notice to Tenants with each Notice of Change of Terms of Tenancy. A notice of rent increase that is given without the Notice to Tenants is invalid, if challenged.
- Failure to provide tenants with this notice can extend the time that tenants have to file petitions challenging rent increases.
Rent Increase Limits
Increases are limited to the Allowable Annual Rent Increase rate (CPI adjustment), which is announced each year by the Residential Rent Adjustment Program, unless the landlord can justify a higher amount under the specific justifications provided by the Rent Adjustment Ordinance.
- Only one increase is allowed in a twelve month period.
- Generally, if tenants do not file a petition within 60 days of receiving a rent increase, they will lose their rights to challenge the increase.
- In most cases, there is no limit on increases when a tenant moves out and a new tenant moves in. Once the new tenant moves in, future increases are limited by the Rent Law.
Some units are exempt from the application of the Rent Adjustment Law. If a petition is filed challenging a rent increase, and the owner believes the unit is not covered, the owner may respond to the petition and prove the unit is exempt. An owner may also file a petition to Obtain a Certificate of Exemption.
Rent Program Service Fee
A Rent Program service fee of $30 per year is charged to owners. Owners who pay the fee on time are generally allowed to pass through $15 of this fee to tenants. However, the fee cannot be added to the base rent when calculating a rent increase.
Click here for more information.
Tenant Challenges to Rent Increases
Tenants may challenge a rent increase if they believe it is more than the allowable amount. To challenge an increase, a tenant must file a petition within 60 days of service of the notice of rent increase (or within 60 days of first receiving a Rent Board form Notice to Tenants of the existence of the Rent Adjustment Program from the landlord, whichever is later).
- Once a petition is received, owners must file a response.
- Petitions and responses are considered filed when RECEIVED by the Rent Adjustment Program office.
- If tenants do not file a petition on time they waive their right to challenge a rent increase.
Landlord Responses When a Tenant Contests a Rent Increase
Upon receipt of a petition to contest a rent increase, a Rent Adjustment Program staff member notifies the landlord of the tenant's complaint. Landlords are required to file a response form and provide documents supporting their claimed justification for any increase more than the annual general CPI adjustment allowed.
An owner may petition for pre-approval of an increase. Capital improvements must be claimed within 2 years of completion and payment. Owners may also petition for a Certificate of Exemption.
Petition and response forms are available online (click here for owner forms or here for renter forms) or from the Rent Adjustment Program Office. There is NO FILING FEE for any petition, response or appeal.
Technical Assistance for Landlords
The EBRHA (East Bay Rental Housing Association) is a non-profit organization representing owners and managers of apartments, condominiums, duplexes, single family homes and other types of rental housing. EBRHA members range in size from small investors with just one property to large property management companies that own or manage hundreds of units. Our membership consists of over 1,200 rental housing owners, property managers, attorneys and other service contractors. Altogether, EBRHA represents over 17,500 rental units. Services provided include: free property management advice by EBRHA staff over the phone or in person; tenant screening service; comprehensive educational classes, such as how to raise rents and Landlord 101 Workshops; new and updated legal forms in easy to use rental agreement kits as well as free Forms accessible online 24/7; seminars on mold, lead-based paint, asbestos and other important topics. An annual membership fee is required. For further information regarding all of the services that EBRHA provides, please call: (510) 893-9873. Contact EBRHA
Voluntary mediation of rent disputes is available to parties with open Rent Adjustment cases.
- Mediation will be scheduled, if the parties’ so request, after filing of both a petition and a response with the Rent Adjustment Program.
- If you are interested in attempting to mediate your case, you will have the choice between a trained Rent Adjustment Program staff member acting as mediator or an outside mediator.
- Staff mediators are available to conduct mediations free of charge.
- If you do not wish to have a staff Hearing Officer mediate your rent dispute, you may use an outside mediator. Fees charged by an outside mediator will be the responsibility of the parties.