Oakland Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: January 18, 2024 by Savannah Minnery

A residential lease agreement in Oakland is a binding document between a landlord and a tenant. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions surrounding the use of a rental property in exchange for payment.

Residential Lease Agreement Requirements in Oakland

Oakland has no city-specific residential lease agreement requirements or disclosures. As such, landlords and tenants in Oakland follow California requirements for lease agreements.

Landlord-Tenant Rights and Regulations in Oakland

When it comes to landlord-tenant rights, Oakland landlords should be aware of the following:

Rent Adjustment Program

The goal of Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Program is to protect tenants from unfair rent increases and unlawful evictions. This program has established rules and regulations surrounding the following topics:

  • Rent increases
  • Eviction protections
  • Buyout agreements
  • Tenant relocation

Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance

In Oakland, it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant without a just cause. This includes both at-fault and no-fault just cause evictions.

No-Fault Evictions

A no-fault eviction is a term used when the notice to end the tenancy is not based on any fault of the tenant. This type of eviction is typically used in scenarios such as month-to-month tenancies. Some examples of no-fault evictions include:

  • The landlord, their spouse, or family member decides to occupy the unit (must be in the lease agreement)
  • The landlord decides to withdraw the unit from the market
  • A federal order or local ordinance requires the tenant to vacate the property

At-Fault Evictions

An at-fault eviction is a term used when the tenant is at fault. For at-fault evictions, landlords must provide written notice of the eviction, as well as an opportunity to cure the violation (if it is curable). Some examples of at-fault evictions include:

  • Refusing to pay rent
  • Violating the lease agreement
  • Engaging in criminal activity
  • Refusing to allow the landlord to enter the property

If the property later becomes available to rent, the landlord must first offer the unit to the displaced tenant within 30 days. This is only if the tenant requested to renew the property within 30 days of being displaced. Once the tenant has received the offer from the landlord, the tenant has 30 days to accept or reject the offer.

Uniform Tenant Relocation Ordinance

The City of Oakland’s Tenant Relocation Ordinance requires property owners to provide relocation payments to tenants who are evicted due to the following no-fault reasons:

  • Owner or relative move-in
  • Code compliance activities
  • Ellis Act
  • Condo conversions

The amount of the relocation payments depends on the size of the unit, and these amounts adjust annually. Certain tenants are entitled to an additional $2,500 payment if they fall under one of the following categories:

  • Elderly tenants
  • Tenants with disabilities
  • Low-income tenants
  • Tenants with minor children

Tenant Protection Ordinance

Oakland’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, which was passed in 2014, works to protect tenants from landlord harassment. The ordinance prohibits certain behaviors that could force or manipulate tenants into vacating their rental unit involuntarily. Landlords and property owners are prohibited from taking certain actions in bad faith. These actions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Failing to provide services, maintenance, or repairs
  • Abusing the landlord’s right of access
  • Removing the tenant’s personal property without their consent
  • Threatening the tenant in any form
  • Manipulating a tenant into vacating their unit
  • Offering a buyout agreement more than once in a 6-month period when the tenant has expressed that they don’t want to receive such offers
  • Interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy or quiet enjoyment of the property
  • Refusing to accept the tenant’s lawful rent payment
  • Imposing new lease terms during the middle of a lease

Tenant Move-Out Agreement Ordinance

In 2018, Oakland City Council passed the Tenant Move-Out Agreement Ordinance. This ordinance provides certain protections to tenants who are offered a buyout agreement by their landlord. A buyout agreement is when a tenant accepts payment from the landlord in exchange for agreeing to vacate their rental unit. Under this ordinance, tenants have the following rights when choosing whether or not to accept a buyout agreement:

  • The right to refuse an offer for a buyout agreement
  • A 25-day right to rescind the buyout agreement after it has been executed
  • The right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to accept the offer

Before negotiating a buyout agreement, landlords must give their tenants a written disclosure with a statement of their rights. If the tenant declines the offer for a buyout agreement, the landlord is prohibited from retaliating against the tenant in any form.

Rent Registry Ordinance

In 2022, Oakland established the Rent Registry Ordinance, which states that all units covered under the Rent Adjustment Program must establish a rent registry. Under this ordinance. Property owners are required to report rent and tenant information. Starting in 2025, property owners will be required to confirm and update this information annually.

Communications Service Provider Choice Ordinance

Under this ordinance that was passed in 2021, tenants in Oakland have the right to choose their own service provider. Similar to San Francisco’s law that was passed in 2016, this law requires property owners of multi-family dwellings to provide tenants with reasonable access to any qualified communication provider.

Optional Lease Agreement Disclosures and Addendums in Oakland

While not mandatory, landlords can add specific disclosures and addendums to their leases. This helps outline the responsibilities of the tenant and can prevent future liability issues.

Crime and Drug-Free Addendum

Due to Oakland’s very high crime rate, it would be in the landlord’s best interest to include an addendum stating that engaging in criminal activity, including drug-related activity, is prohibited on or near the property.

Asbestos Addendum

Since California is listed as the #1 state for asbestos-related deaths, landlords should include an addendum stating if asbestos is present on the property. If asbestos is present, tenants should take precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.

Fire Safety Disclosure

Due to California’s higher wildfire risk, landlords may want to include a fire safety disclosure in the lease agreement. This should provide information relating to smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, fire safety systems, alarms, and evacuation plans.

Summary of Required Lease Disclosures for the State of California

  • Methamphetamine and Fentanyl Contamination – Landlords must disclose any known presence of methamphetamine and fentanyl in a rental agreement. For contaminated property, landlords must include a copy of any contamination-related notices. They must also inform prospective tenants in the rental agreement about ongoing remediation efforts before they sign the lease.
  • Mold – Landlords must disclose any knowledge of mold on the property. This includes 1) any reason to believe there is toxic mold or 2) a high chance of mold forming. This disclosure is mandatory unless the mold was remediated to California safety guidelines.
  • Sex Offender Registry Notice – Prospective tenants and citizens alike have access to information relating to the sex offender registry. This is known as Megan’s Law Disclosure and must be disclosed in every rental agreement.
  • Demolition Permit  If a landlord has intentions to demolish a rental unit or building, or has applied for a demolition permit, they must disclose this in the rental agreement. The disclosure should state the approximate date on which demolition will occur.
  • Military Ordnance – Landlords must provide a military ordnance disclosure for any property that falls within one mile of military training grounds or ordnance storage. This disclosure notifies the tenant that there is a possibility of live munitions near the rental unit.
  • Death in a Rental Unit -Unless occurring due to HIV or AIDS, death in a California rental unit must be disclosed if it occurred within 3 years of the beginning of the lease agreement due to statutes on emotional defects in a property.
  • Shared Utilities Arrangement – In California, when each unit does not have its own utility meter, the landlord must disclose this information in the rental agreement. They must also provide a mutual written agreement with the tenant for payment of services.
  • Bed Bugs – Landlords must include a bed bug addendum in their rental agreements. This addendum provides information about preventing infestations and the proper protocol if one arises.
  • Flood Zone – If the landlord has knowledge of the rental property residing in a flood zone, they must disclose this information to the tenant in the rental agreement.
  • Smoking Policy – If a landlord wishes to prohibit smoking tobacco in any part of the rental property, they must disclose specifically where smoking is prohibited.
  • Lead-Based Paint – It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints.