Oakland renters, landlords, and policymakers will soon have access to a lot more information on rental housing in the city.
The city’s first-ever registry of rental housing units — approved unanimously by the City Council, Tuesday, June 21 —will include data on who owns which properties in Oakland, whether they’re covered by rent control, the maximum rent amount landlords can charge, and the eviction history for any unit. The registry will include all housing covered by Oakland’s rent control and eviction laws — which is most rental buildings constructed before 1996. (The City Council will vote this week on a proposed ballot measure that will make practically all the city’s rental units eligible for registration, regardless of their date of construction).
Many cities with rent control already have registries. Oakland's system promises to be user-friendly and will allow residents and city staff to monitor whether landlords are complying with the law. Currently, in Oakland, a renter must file a complaint if they suspect they’re being overcharged.
RAP staff will be able to communicate directly with tenants and landlords about rent limits for the first time because they will have each unit’s address and contact information for all owners. The registry will also benefit policymaking by tracking the average rent price and other information that can inform programs and laws.
Landlords will be required to submit information about each of their rental units annually to the city, or be prohibited from evicting tenants or raising rents beyond the standard amount.
Tuesday’s vote authorized establishing a rent registry. The city will now seek an experienced consultant to develop the system and database. RAP anticipates that the program will be operational later this year.