Uniform Relocation Benefits (Oakland)
The City of Oakland has a new relocation payment law that could go into effect early next year. It is called the Uniform Residential Tenant Relocation Ordinance. Part of the Ordinance applies to Owner Move In evictions and will apply to notices of termination of tenancy served on or after November 28, 2017. Part of the Ordinance applies to Condo Conversion evictions and will apply to notices of termination of tenancy served on or after November 28, 2017. The official version of the Ordinance has not yet been published. All we have access to are versions and supplements to the Ordinance that have been filed with the Oakland City Council. The exact wording of the law is uncertain at this time and there are contradictions between the originally introduced version of the Ordinance and the Supplements.
Purpose. The Ordinance provides for a uniform amount for relocation payments for tenants displaced by no fault evictions. The Ordinance is similar to laws in San Francisco and Berkeley. The Ordinance makes changes to all existing relocation laws in Oakland. Be careful because existing relocation laws appear throughout the Oakland Municipal Code.
Summary of New Law with Reference to OMC Sections:
8.22.820 - Provides for the amount of relocation payments to the household:
$6500 for studios and 1 bedrooms
$8000 for 2 bedrooms
$9000 for 3+ bedrooms
An additional $2500 for households with disabled (low income, age 62+, disabled, minors).
Follow Sec. 15.60.110 et seq for temporary displacements Although this Section is titled OMI Relocation, it appears to apply to all no fault evictions unless otherwise specified in the Code.
8.22.850 - OMI Relocation under Section 8.22.360(A) (8) and (9). You should follow specific laws for Ellis Act and Code Compliance relocation laws, not this Section.
The amount of payment depends on the length of tenancy. But there will be confusion where there is more than one tenant in a household. Time of payment is as follows:
1. ½ when the notice of termination of tenancy is served and the remaining ½ when the tenant vacates (provided that the tenant agrees in writing not to contest an unlawful detainer). If the tenant contests, then the entirety of the relocation payment is not due unless the Owner prevails in the UD action. The relocation payment must be paid to the Tenant prior to the Owner seeking a writ of possession. None of this makes sense! Good luck!
2. The additional payments for low income, elderly, disabled, and minor residents are due within 15 days of the Tenant’s notice of eligibility or the Tenant supplying supporting documentation.
The failure to make relocation payments is not a defense to a UD. But the tenant can sue and recover attorney’s fees.
It is unclear if this Section applies to both an (A)(8) and (A)(9) eviction because of Supplements to the Ordinance are dated 12/14 and 12/15.
8.22.860 - Penalties
There are criminal and administrative penalties for violating the Ordinance. Asking a tenant to accept less than, or not in compliance with, the Ordinance’s allotted amount is a violation of the law. It is unclear if this penalty applies to buyouts. Currently, Oakland has no buyout ordinance.
8.22.860 - Civil Remedies
Any person or organization can sue! Watch out! It is unclear if multiple persons or tenants can sue. A smart tenant will publish the landlord’s violation of the Ordinance so that all tenant lawyers can file a lawsuit and possibly recover many times.
8.22.450 - Ellis Act Relocation Payments
The amount of Ellis payments have changed to be consistent with OMI payments.
15.60.110 - Code Enforcement Relocation Payments
There are some minor changes to reflect renumbering of codes.
15.36 - Condo Conversion Notices and Relocation Payments
There are some changes to the manner and amount of relocation payments where there is tenant displacement because of condominium conversions.
© 2017 by Fried & Williams LLP. All Rights Reserved. The information contained in this article is general in nature. For advice on any particular matter, please consult with our attorneys because the facts of your situation may be unique and the law changes from time to time.