Amend the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to establish new tenant protections.
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What the Measure Would Do
Measure V would amend the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to establish new tenant protections for Oakland renters. The amendment would:
- Extend certain eviction protections to tenants in all units including RVs and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), except for the first 10 years after the unit is constructed.
- Eliminate the landlord’s ability to evict a tenant if they decide not to renew their lease.
- Prohibit evictions of educators and families with children during the regular school year.
There are two types of tenant protections in Oakland: The Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance and the Rent Adjustment Program, commonly known as rent control. Where the rent control law limits rent increases for certain buildings, the just cause ordinance prohibits a property owner from terminating a tenancy without good or “just” cause for units built and approved before December 31, 1995. All units built after 1996 are currently exempt from just cause protections. There are 11 so-called just causes:
- Failing to pay rent.
- Violating the rental agreement.
- Refusing to sign a new lease (when the old lease expires).
- Causing substantial damage to the unit.
- Disturbing the peace and quiet of other tenants.
- Engaging in illegal activity on the premises.
- Refusing to allow the property owner access to make repairs.
- The unit is the property owner’s principal residence and the owner wants to move back into the unit.
- The property owner wants to use the unit as a principal residence for their spouse, domestic partner or relative.
- The property owner withdraws the unit from the rental market under state law (Ellis Act).
- The property owner wants to make substantial repairs that cannot be made while the unit is occupied.
ADUs are attached or detached units adjacent to a primary residence and have complete independent living facilities for one or more people. These units have become an increasingly popular strategy for expanding the supply of rental housing in California, particularly in single-family neighborhoods that may not otherwise welcome or be able to accommodate new development. Numerous initiatives in Oakland and across the state have sought to increase the adoption of ADUs due to their many opportunities for wealth-building, increasing the availability of rental — and naturally affordable — housing, and community stabilization by providing homes for friends and family members such as grandparents.
With stronger tenant protections, property owners may be less likely to build ADUs since it would be harder to evict problem tenants who live alongside owners on or within their property. ADUs also provide flexibility for homeowners whose needs may change every few years. For instance, they may choose to rent out their unit to earn extra cash and then take their unit off the market after a few years to house a sick parent or child in between jobs. With stronger regulations, homeowners may lose this flexibility and control over their ADU.
By contrast, the city of Berkeley has exempted ADUs from their just cause expansion, making Oakland’s rental market unique with the inclusion of ADUs. Measure V’s 10-year buffer between the time rental properties are built to when they are protected under just cause is intended to mitigate impacts to ADUs.
For the last few decades, Oakland has experienced a severe shortage of housing that has made the city unaffordable to many — including lifelong residents — and has engendered rapid displacement and homelessness. More than 60% of Oakland’s housing stock is occupied by renters, and this unprecedented demand has led to skyrocketing market rents, caused in part by the spillover of increasingly expensive housing costs in San Francisco. The median rental price for a one-bedroom unit in Oakland was $2,200 per month in July 2022; to afford this would require making about three times Oakland’s minimum wage.
In 2002, Oakland voters passed the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance (Measure EE), which established the city’s initial tenant protections to reduce and prevent displacement and homelessness throughout the city. Various amendments have altered the city’s just cause ordinance since then. In 2016, voters passed Measure JJ, which extended just cause protection to tenants in residential rental units first offered for rent between October 14, 1980, and December 31, 1995. In 2018, Oakland voters passed Measure Y, which made owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes subject to the just cause ordinance and gave the City Council authority to add eviction requirements.
The increased housing pressure for residents across a range of low- and middle-income levels has inspired expanded rent stabilization and tenant protection policies. Since the passage of Measure EE, voters and the City Council have expanded its coverage several times.
Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Carroll Fife introduced this measure, and it was approved unanimously for the ballot by the City Council. As an ordinance, it requires a simple majority (50% plus one vote) to pass.
Just cause protections help to keep the lowest-income residents in place in gentrifying neighborhoods, where displacement pressures may be especially strong. The expansion of just cause protections could benefit Black, Latinx and Asian residents most, as they make up the majority (66%) of renter households in Oakland. Further, a 2018 study found a much higher rate of eviction notices filed in majority Black census tracts than in Latinx or white tracts. Most evictions in Oakland also disproportionately occur in lower-income neighborhoods like West Oakland and Chinatown.
- Measure V reduces the risk of displacement and homelessness, especially for RV and ADU tenants who are not currently protected.
- This measure prevents evictions of educators and children during the school year, which can be particularly disruptive and have devastating impacts on children’s development and academic performance, as well as on schools’ ability to provide a consistent and stable learning environment.
- It expands just cause protections to most rental properties in the city; currently, the eviction protections only apply to units built before 1996.
- With stronger tenant protections, property owners may be less likely to build ADUs since it would be harder to evict problem tenants that live alongside owners on or within their property. The City of Oakland has worked extensively in recent years to encourage ADU production as a housing production strategy.
Housing production and preservation are vital to accommodate Oakland’s future growth over the next 50 years and to improve housing affordability in the short and long term. Tenant protections alone cannot improve access to housing; increasing the overall supply of housing is also an important anti-displacement strategy.
However, expanding tenant protections is a critical intervention to improve community stability, prevent displacement, and reduce the risk of homelessness. Bay Area cities must take steps to set permanent tenant protections amid an acute affordability crisis, especially once the COVID-19 moratorium is lifted. Expanding just cause protections and eliminating certain types of no-fault evictions will help ensure that Oakland residents can remain in their homes.
 City of Oakland, “Understanding Evictions in Oakland,” https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/understanding-evictions-in-oakland.
 For a complete list of just causes and exemptions, see Oakland Ordinance 8.22.360, September 14, 2022, https://library.municode.com/ca/oakland/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT8HESA_CH8.22REREADEV_ARTIIJUCAEVORMEEE_8.22.360GOCAREEV.
 California Department of Housing and Community Development, Accessory Dwelling Unit Handbook, July 2022, https://www.hcd.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2022-07/ADUHandbookUpdate.pdf.
 David Garcia, ADU Update: Early Lessons and Impacts of California’s State and Local Policy Changes, UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation, December 2017, https://ternercenter.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/ADU_Update_Brief_December_2017_.pdf.
 Julia Greenberg et al., ADUs for All: Breaking Down Barriers to Racial and Economic Equity in Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction, UC Berkeley Terner Center and Center for Community Innovation, August 2022, https://ternercenter.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ADU-Equity-August-2022-Final.pdf.
 Berkeley Rent Board, “New Laws Affecting Rental Properties,” City of Berkeley, January 20, 2022, https://rentboard.berkeleyca.gov/laws-regulations/new-laws-affecting-rental-properties.
 Kevin Fagan et al., “Homegrown and Homeless in Oakland,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2022, https://www.sfchronicle.com/projects/2021/homeless-project-oakland/.
 Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Carroll Fife, “Ballot Measure to Amend the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance,” Agenda Report, City of Oakland, June 2022, https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=11012420&GUID=BE2C58F4-5FC3-4E70-9B4E-018CA3D6BE72&G=15529D0E-EFE8-4C09-817E-CE554309072E.
 Zumper, “National Rent Report,” August 2022, https://www.zumper.com/blog/rental-price-data/ (August 11, 2022).
 California Housing Partnership, Housing Needs Dashboard for Alameda County, 2022, https://chpc.net/?sfid=181&_sf_s=alameda&_sft_resources_type=housing-need+level-county.
 Karen Chapple et al., Housing Market Interventions and Residential Mobility in the San Francisco Bay Area,, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Community Development Working Paper, March 2022, https://www.doi.org/10.24148/cdwp2022-01.
 Housing Initiative at Penn, Housing Vulnerability in Oakland, CA, September 2022, page 11, https://www.housinginitiative.org/uploads/1/3/2/9/132946414/hip_oakland_market_study_9-29-20_small.pdf.
 City of Oakland, Oakland Equity Indicators: Measuring Change Toward Greater Equity in Oakland, 2018, https://cao-94612.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/2018-Equity-Indicators-Full-Report.pdf.
 Natalie Orenstein, “Eviction Attempts Plummeted During the Pandemic in Oakland,” Oaklandside, April 19, 2022, https://oaklandside.org/2021/04/19/eviction-attempts-plummeted-during-the-pandemic-in-oakland/.
 See note 8.
 Jackelyn Hwang et al., Who Benefits from Tenant Protections? The Effects of Rent Stabilization
and Just Cause for Evictions on Residential Mobility in the Bay Area, UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Research Brief, March 2022, https://www.urbandisplacement.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/IGS_2_Tenant-Protections_Brief_03.01.22.pdf.
 Natalie Orenstein, “ Oakland and Alameda County’s Eviction Moratoriums Are Still in Effect,” Oaklandside, April 11, 2022, https://oaklandside.org/2022/04/11/oakland-and-alameda-countys-eviction-moratoriums-are-still-in-effect/.