Oakland Votes to Require Relocation Payments for Owner Move-In Evictions

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Oakland’s City Council just voted to require landlords to make relocation payments to tenants when performing an owner move-in eviction, relative move-in eviction, or an eviction for condo conversion.* This will extend relocation payments to all no-fault evictions. Relocation payments were already required for Ellis Act and code compliance evictions.

According to the proposed legislation, the relocation payments are dependent upon how many bedrooms are in the unit: $9,875 per unit for units with three or more bedrooms; $8,000 per units for units with two bedrooms; and $6,500 per unit for studios and one-bedroom units. There is a single additional relocation payment of $2,500 if the household has a tenant who is low income, elderly, disabled, or has minor children. Half of the standard relocation payment must be made when the eviction notice is served and half must be paid when the tenant vacates. The $2,500 payment must be paid within 15 days of when the tenant notifies the landlord of the tenant’s eligibility for the additional payment. The amount of the relocation payment will increase each year on July 1 in accordance with the Consumer Price Index adjustment.

The landlord’s failure to make the relocation payment is not a defense to the unlawful detainer. However, the tenant may bring an action against the landlord for failure to make the relocation payment and may recover twice the relocation payment and the tenant’s attorney fees. If the landlord failed to make the relocation payment in bad faith, the tenant may recover four times the relocation payment and the tenants attorney fees. The tenant may also recover treble damages if the landlord willfully failed to comply with the payment obligations.

Oakland will join San Francisco in mandating relocation payments for certain no-fault evictions. San Francisco requires relocation payments to tenants for evictions for owner move-in, relative move-in, condo conversion, demolition, capital improvements, substantial rehabilitation, and for evictions under the Ellis Act.

* Note that the proposed legislation has not yet gone into effect and could change.