Start a Rent Adjustment Petition
The rent petition process is administered by the Rent Adjustment Program in Oakland. It’s meant for both renters and landlords. There’s a $110 dollar Fee (2019-2020) per unit per year to help run this program and in most cases, landlords are allowed to pass down 50% of the cost to tenants.
A tenant can use the petition process to:
Challenge rent increases
Get a decrease in rent due to a loss of service and/or code violations related to repair issues
A landlord needs to petition in order to:
Remove units from the housing market (Ellis Act)
Qualify for exceptions to Rent Control
Raise people’s rent above any CPI and Banking increases owed
This includes: Capital improvement, Constitutional Fair Return, uninsured repair costs, Increased Housing Service costs
Other important information:
The landlord has the burden to prove the need for the rent increase.
If you are covered under the Rent Adjustment Program (rent control), yearly rent increases cannot be more than 10% no matter the reason.
You do have to pay a rent increase other than the CPI (consumer Price Index) increase allowable each year until a petition is filled.
To contest a rent increase, you need to file a petition within 90 days if you’ve received the “Notice to Tenants” from your landlord with the increase.
**Note: If you’re covered in Oakland’s Rent Control Ordinance, the landlord has to give you a notice at least 6 months before your first rent increase.
120 days of receiving the increase if the “Notice to Tenants” was not given to you. 90 days of first seeing the notice if the landlord did not give the “Notice to Tenants”.
How to File a Petition:
You can find and file a petition at
https://www.oaklandca.gov/services/file-a-tenant-petition or by Mailing in your petition to: 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza Ste. 5313 Oakland, CA 94612. Make sure you call to get updated information since COVID-19 may have changed these instructions. (510) 238 – 3721, Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.
You can call and ask for a receipt to make sure they’ve received the petition.
Once you submit the petition, it will trigger a process of documentation and get assigned to a hearing, mediation, or an administrative decision. While waiting to see what the case gets assigned to, the other party has 35 days to answer the petition and provide any supporting documents. If there’s a clear outcome, you will receive an administrative decision. An example is: If you file a petition to contest a rent increase but are not covered under rent control. If the outcome is not clear and if both you and the landlord agree, you will have a mediation free of charge. If one party does not want mediation, you will have a hearing. The hearing officer usually sends out a decision within 30 days of the hearing. If a party does not agree with the decision, they can start an appeals process.