Oakland’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium has come to an end. The eviction moratorium served as a crucial lifeline for countless tenants who were grappling with the economic hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. With its expiration, many tenants are left wondering, “What now?”
Immediate Threat of Evictions
The most immediate concern for tenants is the heightened risk of evictions. With the moratorium lifted, landlords regain the ability to pursue legal eviction actions against tenants who have fallen behind on rent payments. This could lead to a surge in eviction notices and legal proceedings, placing vulnerable individuals and families in precarious situations.
But Tenant Protections in Oakland Remain Robust
Despite the end of the eviction moratorium, tenant protections in Oakland remain strong and there are important restrictions on when and for what reasons a landlord in Oakland can pursue an eviction.
- No Evictions for Failure to Pay Rent Due to Financial Hardship. Even with the end of the eviction moratorium, landlords cannot evict a tenant for failure to pay rent between March 9, 2020 and July 14, 2023 if the failure to pay rent was due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19.
- No Evictions Unless Landlord Has a Just Cause. While landlords can now begin eviction proceedings again, they cannot evict for just any reason. In most circumstances, Oakland tenant law protects tenants from being evicted from their homes unless landlords can show a proper just cause reason for the eviction. These are things like breach of lease, non-payment of rent, nuisance, owner or relative move in, etc. Some of these just causes also require the landlord to pay tenants relocation payments to help them find new housing.
- No Banked Rent Increases in 2023 On Covered Units. The eviction moratorium may have ended, but the moratorium on banked rent increases in Oakland remains in effect until July 1, 2024. This means that for rental units covered by the Oakland Rent Adjustment Program (rent control), landlords may not raise rents when the eviction moratorium ends by more than the CPI or 3%, whichever is lower. Landlords cannot raise the rent above that limit, even where the landlord has “banked” past rent increases (meaning the landlord did not impose a rent increase when he or she was legally permitted to do so) until July 1, 2024.
While the end of the Oakland eviction moratorium raises significant concerns for tenants who were already grappling with financial hardships and housing insecurity, tenants still have robust protections. As with any legal issue, each individual’s situation will vary. Tenants who are facing eviction or have concerns about their landlord’s actions should contact a tenant lawyer or legal service organization for assistance.