12 Suggested Actions to Protect Tenants in Oakland


The following list was submitted to City Council, containing some actions the council can take during the temporary housing state of emergency to provide long-term protections to Oakland residents who are being forced out of the city by excessive rent increase non just cause evictions. 



1. Require owners to file a petition with the Rent Adjustment Program for any rent increase above the approved Consumer Price Index (CPI).



Modify the current Rent Adjustment Ordinance to remove the burden of responsibility from tenants. Tenants must not be made the responsible party to petition against unlawful acts of owners, nor be penalized for failure to petition against such illegal actions.



2. Enact “mandatory mediation” to be facilitated by the Rent Adjustment Program in the event of intended or threatened evictions — 3-day, 7-day, or 60-day notices — provided that mediation action is prior to filing for “unlawful detainer.”



Urgent joint mediation could resolve perceived problems and prevent or forestall catastrophic displacement.



3. Change the definition of “affordable housing” to require that at least 5 percent of units be available to households at 15 percent to 30 percent of AMI (area median income).



Per the City of Oakland 2015 Rental Survey (September 2015), 50 percent of Oakland tenants (family of 4) have incomes less than $30,000, and can afford a monthly rent of no more than $750, while the median market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $2,950.



To afford median rent, a one minimum wage-earner household would have to work 185 hours each week.



4. Strictly enforce Oakland’s 50 percent “local hire policy,” and extend the policy to private employment (with justifiable small business exemptions) to better assure access to jobs for Oakland residents and to better help lower income households pay median rents. To avert further displacement, city actions that reduce funds for provision of direct services to unemployed and other vulnerable residents that aim for success in the job market should be halted (unless such reduction is commensurate with reduction in state and federal revenue and grant funds).



The community assembly recognizes that retention of as much affordable housing as possible coupled with control of unjust evictions is only part of the longterm solution. In order to pay rent and aspire to an enriched quality of life, access to good jobs that pay livable wages must be factored into the moratorium.



5. Make it illegal for owners to “deny” receiving rent payments of Tenants who are in complete compliance with their rental agreements and are being unjustly evicted by owner schemes that bypass the “Just Cause for Eviction” law and reset to “Costa-Hawkins” rents.



6. Require the same relocation benefits for tenants that were recently enacted for the Ellis Act (OMC 8.22.400) in situations where relocation is due to no fault of the tenant.



7. Immediately enact the “revised” Condominium ordinance, which, despite completed legal reviews and re-revisions, has languished for at least the last two years.



8. Require a 5 percent fee to be paid by sellers to offset the disruptive effects of “flipping” and property speculation. The speculation fee would apply to property transfers that occur within 2 years of a prior sale where the current sale price exceeds the previous sale by 25% or more.



9. Stockpile and lease residential-suited city-owned land and buildings at cost to the Oakland Land Trust for production of permanently affordable (a) artists cooperatives, (b) transitional shelter for homeless, and (c) rental housing.



10. Track and monitor “owner move-ins” for the first 2 years to assure that tenant displacement was legitimate.



11. Provide an option to multi-unit housing developers to include either 25% affordable units on-site, or pay $200,000 per proportionate units into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.



12. Establish a program to punish discrimination based on Section 8 as source of income.



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