It is not okay for your landlord to threaten or harass you. You have rights!
If you are being harassed, note that you are not alone. In our Tenants Rights clinic we hear about harassment issues weekly. This may happen because landlords may not know your rights, they may not know how to navigate being a landlord, or they could be using it as a tactic of displacement. We are not a legal organization but we can tell you your rights and point you towards additional resources!
In California, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant for suing them, asking for repairs and/or enforcing any of their tenant rights. Landlords are also not able to threaten you with physical or verbal force or with calling ICE, in Oakland tenants and their relatives or acquaintances are also protected against landlord threats to call ICE or other local, state, or federal agencies on the basis of their perceived or actual immigration status. They also cannot interrupt your peaceful and quiet enjoyment of your unit including coming in without your consent, take things out of your unit, or invading your privacy. Oakland also has specific laws that protect many tenants against harassment.
Here are some harassment/intimidation tactics your landlord may be using that aren’t permitted by law. This is not an extensive list but it’s a guide of what we’ll cover.
1. Remove outside doors or windows
2. Prevent the tenant from gaining reasonable access to the property by changing the locks or using a boot-lock or by any other similar method or device
3. Remove from the premises the tenant’s personal property
4. The interruption or termination of any utility service provided for the tenant
5. Fail to perform repairs and maintenance
6. Fail to exercise due diligence in completing repairs and maintenance once undertaken or fail to follow appropriate industry repair
7. Abuse the Owner’s right of access
8. Threaten the Tenant or guests, by word or gesture, with physical harm
9. Refuse to accept or acknowledge receipt of a Tenant’s lawful rent payment
10. Refuse to cash a rent check or money orders for over thirty (30) days unless a written receipt for payment has been provided to the Tenant
11. Interfere with a Tenant’s right to privacy
12. Request information that violates a Tenant’s right to privacy, including but not limited to residence or citizenship status or social security number – a landlord cannot in bad faith refuse equivalent alternatives to information or documentation that do not concern immigration or citizenship status
13. Removing a housing service, such as parking spot
14. Elder financial abuse will now be a violation of the Tenant Protection Ordinance in Oakland. 15. Currently, there are several ways that a landlord might be able to increase a rent-controlled Oakland tenant’s rent above the amount allowed yearly based on the current CPI amount in the rent ordinance (such as ‘banking’ prior unused increases or a capital improvements petition). The amount of this increase is now capped at 5% in any one year plus the Consumer Price Index change for that year, or 10 percent, whichever is lower, to conform to state law.
If you need information about your unit to make an assessment about your situation, you can call the number below and ask them for:
(1) landlord’s full name & address (the address they have on record),
(2) number of units on the property, or
(3) year built. All these pieces of information are public records and therefore are easily accessible.
County Assessor’s Office Room 145
1221 Oak Street
Call them between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30pm.