The Emeryville Residential Landlord & Tenant Relations Ordinance has two principal components, one spelling out the permissible reasons to evict a tenant and the other an anti-harassment provision that prohibits heavy-handed, retaliatory acts of landlords. These types of anti-harassment ordinances have proliferated throughout the Bay Area.

Like several other locales, tenants in Emeryville must be notified of their rights at the inception of the tenancy. These rights must also be conveyed to the tenant upon renewal of the lease, whenever a Notice of Termination is served, and in the event there are significant amendments to the ordinance.

When it comes to tenant protections throughout the Bay Area, a common denominator we see is the demand for transparency through rent registries and increasingly, the need to obtain a "license" to, for example, raise rents or operate corporate rentals.

In Emeryville, landlords must have a valid residential landlord business license in order to terminate a tenancy. In the application for the license, reams of information must be shared with the city. So call it a registry even if it is not termed as such.


Just cause reasons to evict in Emeryville

Throughout the Bay Area, the permissible reasons to evict a tenant are fairly consistent, but Emeryville's delineated just causes are interesting. What jumps off the page are a few items we won't typically find in other locales.

One is the landlord "returning from a sabbatical" to occupy the unit. Another is the landlord returning from deployment in the armed services. This conjures memories of a military couple in Oakland who rented out their home when duty called. When they attempted to come back home after their assignment ended, it would cost them thousands of dollars in relocation payments to transition the well-to-do tenants out.

Emeryville's language in the ordinance is creative. One of the reasons to evict: the tenant's failure to abate or repair dangerous and unsanitary conditions, which the tenant created. This is really a nuisance, though it is suggestive of a hoarding condition, a topic we took on here.

The tenant violating occupancy restrictions (too many people living in the unit) is not the language we typically find as a just cause on other ordinances but one that Emeryville explicitly notes.

Whatever the theory for eviction, landlords must inform the tenant in writing and file a copy of the notice with the Emeryville City Clerk within 10 days of service on the tenant.


Owner Move-In & Relative Move-In evictions (OMIs/RMIs)

The owner can seek to recover possession of the rental unit for themselves or a qualified relative, provided that there is at least a 50% ownership stake in the property, imminently move into the rental unit, and use it as their principal place of residence for at least ten months of any calendar year. The owner or their close family member must further reside in the unit for at least two years. If the owner or qualified relative no longer wishes to reside in the rental unit, it must be offered back to the displaced tenant.

Of course, OMIs/RMIs are a no-fault eviction that entitles the tenant to relocation assistance, which is a good segway into our next point.


Relocation payments

It is a given that whenever tenants are evicted through no fault of their own, the landlord must provide relocation assistance. Interestingly, though, Emeryville's ordinance distinguishes between "small" landlords and "large" landlords in determining the amount of relocation assistance. That is, does the landlord own four units or less, or more than four units?

In the case of no-fault evictions, small landlords will have to pay the greater of:

1) One month of the most current fair market rates, as set by HUD for the Oakland-Fremont, California HUD Metro FMR area; or,

2) One month of rent at the time the notice of tenancy is delivered.

In the alternative, Emeryville landlords deemed to be little fish can simply waive one month of rent. In this respect, the city's relocation payment requirements are similar to those mandated under statewide eviction controls (AB 1482) and certainly less cumbersome than some other Bay Area jurisdictions.

Larger landlords with four or more units do not get off so easily when a tenant is ushered out of the unit through no fault of their own - there will be multiples to the tune of five times the current fair market rates set by HUD, or four times the monthly rent at the time the notice of termination of tenancy is delivered.

We see this inequality in the relocation assistance payments required as part of a larger movement throughout the Bay Area that distrusts and disfavors large, corporate landlords often referred to as "greed-fueled" investors. Policymakers have looked upon small, mom-and-pop landlords with less disdain, particularly if they live within close proximity to the tenants who rent from them. At any rate, the relocation payment must be divided equally amongst all tenants in occupancy.

An open-door policy with subtenants

While subletting is normally frowned upon in Bay Area jurisdictions, Emeryville tenants have the right to welcome in new subtenants so long as there are no more than two persons per bedroom in the unit, plus one person.

Before welcoming these new faces into the unit, the tenant has to notify the landlord of the subtenant in writing and gain approval from the landlord. The landlord has a tall bar, however, in denying subtenants. The denial would have to be based on a violation of occupancy limits, or the incoming roommate poses a nuisance or danger.


Eviction Harassment Ordinance »

Eviction and Harassment Protection Ordinance Regulations Emeryville »

Eviction Ordinance FAQ's March 17 2017 »

Eviction Notice Form »

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