The below information is from the City of Oakland’s website.
The Oakland City Council has adopted a requirement to establish a rent registry for all units subject to the Rent Program Fee. As of March 1, 2023, owners of these units will be required to report rent and tenancy information to RAP on an annual basis.
What does the new law require?
On June 21, 2022, the Oakland City Council voted to approve the establishment of a rent registry in Oakland. The new law requires that owners of residential rental units subject to the Rent Adjustment Program Fee (RAP) provide tenancy information for each covered unit on an annual basis.
Rental property owners will be required to register their units’ rents with RAP for the first time by March 1, 2023. They will then be required to either update or confirm their units’ rent data annually.
Owners who do not meet this new requirement will not be able to file petitions for rent increases or give rent increases, nor will they be able to answer tenants’ petitions. Furthermore, the new law establishes failure to register as an affirmative defense in most eviction actions.
How much is the rent adjustment program fee?
If your rental property is covered by either the Rent Adjustment Ordinance or the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance, then the unit is also covered under the Rent Adjustment Program.
Owners of rental property covered by either Ordinance must file and pay an annual fee of $101 for each unit. All fees will be due on January 1, and will be deemed delinquent if not paid to the Business Tax Office* by March 1. Owners who timely pay the annual RAP fee are allowed to pass half (50%) of the fee onto the tenant.
Which rental units will have to be registered?
All residential rental units subject to the Rent Program Fee will need to be registered by the owner of the property. This includes units that are subject to the Rent Adjustment Ordinance AND/OR units that are subject to the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.
Which rental units do not have to be registered?
Units that are exempt from BOTH ordinances will not have to be registered. Exempt units include:
- Newly constructed units built entirely from the ground up on or after December 31, 1995 and are not a result of a conversion or prior residential use. (Please provide either (a) Certificate of Occupancy issued after December 31, 1995, or (b) a Certificate of Exemption issued by RAP after December 31, 1995.)
- Fully owner-occupied units, including single family homes
- Hospitals, skilled nursing, or health facilities
- Non-profits or substance abuse recovery facilities
- Non-profits to support the homelessness
For more information on which units are subject to the Rent Program Fee, visit City of Oakland | Rent Adjustment Program Fee and Exemptions (oaklandca.gov).
I am a property owner. What are my next steps?
Owners of covered units will be contacted by RAP in late 2022 with instructions on how register their property using the online rent registry. It is expected that owners will be able to register their units starting in January 2023, with a deadline of March 1. It is strongly recommended that owners register their properties online; however paper registration forms will be provided upon request.
In the meantime, owners should be prepared to provide, to the best of their knowledge and ability, the following information for each unit that is subject to the Rent Program Fee:
- Unit Number/Designation (i.e., #A, #1/2, #4A, etc.)
- Start Date of current tenancy
- Initial Rent of current tenancy
- Current Rent
- Date of last rent increase
- Amount of last rent increase
- Number of occupants at start of tenancy
- Tenant Name(s)
- Tenant Email (at least one)
- Services included with the rent (i.e., utilities, laundry access, parking, etc.)
- Reason that previous tenant vacated (i.e., voluntary vacancy, eviction for just cause, etc.)
I am a property owner. How do I register my rental units?
It is expected that owners will be able to start registering their units in January 2023. Owners [should have received instructions] via U.S. mail in late 2022 on how to register their units in anticipation of the March 1 deadline.
What happens if an owner does not register their rental unit(s)?
An owner will be unable to file a petition for rent increase, give rent increases, or answer a tenant’s petition if they have not registered their unit(s) by the March 1, 2023, deadline or otherwise substantially comply with the registration requirement. Furthermore, failure to register will be an affirmative defense in an eviction action.
What is the benefit of a rent registry?
A rent registry provides a number of benefits. One of the most important ones is that it helps both owners and tenants understand better whether or not their rents are in compliance with Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Ordinance. Owners will be able to more easily calculate rent increases, and tenants can verify them.
Who will have access to the data in the rent registry?
Property owners will have access to all tenancy data for the buildings they own/manage. Tenants will have access to their own unit’s tenancy data.
Note: Personal, identifying information such as tenants’ names and email addresses will NOT be publicly accessible through the rent registry.
How can I find out more about the new law?
Attend a workshop! RAP will host four additional workshops in January-February 2023 to provide assistance on the registration process.
Contact a RAP Housing Counselor! For more information, you can contact a RAP housing counselor by telephone at (510) 238-3721, or via email at [email protected].