Reform and re balance the Oakland CA Rent Board

Petition Closed

Reform and re balance the Oakland CA Rent Board

This petition had 9 supporters

Mark Sherman started this petition to Oakland CA City Council

The Oakland CA City Council is supposed to serve the best interests of the people who live in Oakland. The Oakland Rent Board is an administrative agency that handles disputes between tenants and landlords. The City Council has over-site control over the Rent Board but has been derelict in its' duty.
According to the Oakland Tenant's Union, unless there is an obvious landlord error such as not appearing or not able to produce receipts, the Board will almost always vote for the landlord. If a case is slightly nuanced the Board will generally vote for the landlord.
The Board is composed of 2 tenant representatives, 2 landlord representatives and 3 “independent” members who are homeowners. Homeowners are people with landed interests, as are the landlords, and they tend to vote with the landlord representatives. This only leaves 2 Board members out of 7 to speak up for tenants. This lopsided situation is contrary to the reason for the existence of the Rent Board.
From Article 1 Residential Rent Adjustment Program
8.22.010 Findings and purpose. A. The City Council finds that a shortage of decent, safe, affordable and sanitary residential rental housing continues to exist in Oakland. This shortage is evidenced by a low vacancy rate among such units throughout the city and a continually increasing demand for such housing. Many residents of Oakland pay a substantial amount of their monthly income for rent. The present shortage of rental housing units and the prevailing rent levels have a detrimental effect on the health, safety, and welfare of a substantial number of Oakland residents, particularly senior citizens, persons in low and moderate income households, and persons on fixed incomes. Stability in their housing situation is important for individuals and families in rental housing. In particular, tenants desire to be free from the fear of eviction motivated by a rental property owner’s desire to increase rents. Rental property owners desire the ability to expeditiously terminate the tenancies of problem tenants.
Nice words but the Rent Board is stacked with people who vote with landlord interests making a mockery of the stated purposes of the regulation - stability in the housing situation and being free from fear of eviction. It should be tilted slightly to more evenly represent the people who live in Oakland as opposed to the business of land-lording. The percentage of the people living in Oakland who are renters is over 58%. The composition of the Board needs to be adjusted so that there is a fairer balance between tenants and those with landed interests.
In the present climate of greatly escalating rents there is great pressure by landlords to remove tenants so that rents can be pushed up. The Rent Board is there to see that tenants (as well as landlords) are not harmed. But the Rent Board constantly comes out with dysfunctional and capricious decisions that favor landlords. How many tenants over the years have been harmed by a Board that generally votes with landlord interests? How many more tenants will be harmed before the City Council reforms the makeup of the Board?
Please sign this petition to ask the Oakland CA City Council to reform and re-balance the Rent Board and stop harming the rights of tenants.

Petition Closed

This petition had 9 supporters