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Oakland Tenant Harassment Attorney

Oakland Tenant Harassment Attorney

Oakland Tenant Harassment Attorney

California offers its renters some of the strongest anti-gouging laws in the country, along with some of the strongest protections against unfair eviction in the United States. In addition, the city of Oakland has its own residential rental property laws. An Oakland tenant harassment attorney can help you with any issues you may be experiencing in your rental unit. 

Tenant Harassment

Oakland offers rent protection programs, eviction protections, and a Tenant Protection Ordinance which prohibits tenant harassment and allows tenants to take legal action if a landlord harasses them.

As the pandemic lingers among U.S. citizens, tenant harassment among Oakland renters has been on the rise. With moratoriums on evictions and delays in the courts, landlords have been resorting to unlawful harassment as a way to push tenants to move out without going through the eviction process. Among the techniques landlords use are: shutting off utilities, threatening renters with reports to immigration officials, making video or audio recordings in a tenant’s unit, changing locks, and other hostile acts.

Landlords will also at times refuse to allow renters to bring in other roommates, a common occurrence under pandemic conditions. Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance was revised in July 2020 to expand protections where renters bring in a roommate that a landlord “unreasonably refuses.” But unfortunately, some landlords have continued to push back unlawfully against tenants who exercise their rights.

Oakland Tenant Protection Ordinance

In response to tenant harassment incidents over the years, Oakland enacted the Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO), most recently amended in July 2021. Under the TPO, tenant harassment occurs when a landlord engages in any of the following conduct in bad faith:

  • Threatening to or actually interrupting, terminating, or failing to provide housing services.
  • Failing to perform needed repairs and maintenance.
  • Failing to properly complete maintenance or repairs – for example, not minimizing exposure to contaminants like dust, lead paint, mold, asbestos, or other building materials that may have potentially harmful health impacts.
  • Abusing the landlord’s right of access to the rental unit.
  • Removing tenant’s personal property, furnishings, or other items without prior written consent. 
  • Threaten to report a tenant to immigration officials to intimidate them.
  • Attempting to coerce a tenant to vacate with an offer of payment or by using threats or intimidation.
  • Threatening the tenant, by word or gesture, with physical harm.
  • Substantially and directly interfering with a tenant’s right to quiet use and enjoyment.
  • Not accepting or acknowledging the receipt of rent payment.
  • Interfering with or violating the tenant’s right to privacy.
  • Committing repeated acts to substantially interfere with or disturb any tenant’s comfort, repose, peace, or quiet.

If you have experienced these or other similar acts by your Oakland landlord, a local tenant harassment attorney can help to protect your rights.

Filing a Complaint under the TPO

If you were a victim of a landlord’s bad faith conduct under the TPO, you may be able to file a claim against your landlord. However, for your claim to have the best chance of being successful, there are specific steps you must take, including properly notifying your landlord of the issue(s) and giving them reasonable time to respond. Before taking action, we recommend speaking with an experienced Oakland tenants’ rights lawyer who can help you better understand the requirements and deadlines that might impact your claim and explain your legal options involving a current or former landlord.

Contact us at Wolford Wayne LLP today for an initial consultation regarding your case.

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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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