Rent Adjustment Program Petition Process
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
Get a free settlement service to get into an agreement with the landlord about repair or rent increase 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.
If the landlord does not file a petition to increase the rent fr any of these reasons, then the tenant is not obligated to pay the rent increase and can file a petition to fight the rent increase attempt.
Tenants don’t have to pay invalid Consumer Price Index (CPI) based increases or banking increases. If tenants believe a rent increase is invalid and files a petition before the increased amount is due, they are not obligated to pay the increase until the issue is resolved. A tenant is also not obligated to pay the increase if there are ongoing bad conditions in the unit claimed if a the tenant filed the petition before the increase takes effect
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 until you file a petition.
To contest a Rent Increase, you must file a petition within
-90 days if you’ve received the “Notice to Tenants” from your landlord with the increase.
-120 days of receiving the increase if the “Notice to Tenants” was not given to you.
-90 days of Knowing about the necessary notice if the landlord did not give the “Notice to Tenants” at all.
How to File a Petition
You can find and file a petition at
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 5313, Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238 – 3721, Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.
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 appeal process.