Landlord Buy Outs
Oakland’s Tenant Move Out Agreement Ordinance:
Oakland’s move out agreement offers a great example as to how extensive buyouts are regulated in the city. Landlords must comply with a series of steps when commencing a buyout under Oakland’s ordinances, all of which are intended to protect the tenant by requiring the landlord to make the tenant aware of his or her rights in regards to the buyout request. Please remember that the first step for anyone considering a buyout or fighting an eviction is to get legal help. You should never sign legal papers without consulting a lawyer.
Pre-Negotiation Disclosures and Notifications – Oakland Municipal Code 8.22.730
A. Prior to commencing move out negotiations for a rental unit, an owner shall provide each tenant in that rental unit with a written disclosure on a form prescribed by the city, which shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) A statement that the tenant has a right to refuse to enter into a move out agreement or engage in move out negotiations;
(2) A statement that the owner may not retaliate against the tenant for refusing to enter into a move out agreement or engage in move out negotiations;
(3) A statement that the tenant may choose to consult with an attorney before entering into a move out agreement or engaging in move out negotiations;
(4) A statement that offering payments to a tenant to vacate more than once in six (6) months after the tenant has notified the owner in writing that the tenant refuses to enter into a move out agreement or engage in move out negotiations constitutes harassment under the Tenant Protection Ordinance (O.M.C.8.22.600, et seq.);
(5) A statement that the tenant may rescind the move out agreement for up to twenty-five (25) days after it is fully executed by all parties, unless the parties agree in writing to a shorter rescission period of not less than fifteen (15) days, provided that the tenant has not moved out, and the decision to rescind is unanimous among the tenants who are parties to the move out agreement;
(6) General eligibility for relocation payments and the amounts tenants may be entitled to;
(7) A statement that the tenant may find information regarding tenants’ rights and contact information for tenants’ assistance organizations at the city’s Rent Adjustment Program office or on the rent adjustment program website, as well information regarding the city’s other relevant online resources;
(8) A description of when tenants have an option or right to return to their rental unit under state or local law and an explanation that waiver of these rights, if applicable, may make a move out agreement more valuable;
(9) A statement that market rate rents in the area may be significantly higher than the tenant’s current rent and that the tenant may wish to check rents for comparable rental units before entering into a move out agreement, particularly a move out agreement that waives any options or rights to return to the rental unit that the tenant may have;
(10) A statement that payments pursuant to a move out agreement may be subject to federal and/or state taxation and that the tenant should consult taxing authorities or a tax professional for more information or advice on taxability;
(11) A statement that move out agreements and documents related to move out agreements that are submitted to the city may be public, but that the city may redact personal information to the extent possible consistent with Oakland, state, and federal public records laws or policies. Parties to a potential move out agreement should be advised that information a party believes to be private may be subject to public disclosure;
(12) The names of all people authorized to conduct move out negotiations and enter into move out agreements on the owner’s behalf;
(13) Any other information required by the Rent Adjustment Program consistent with the purposes and provisions of this Section;
(14) The following statements and question in bold letters with a space for the tenant to affix their initials next to each possible answer:
“Owners who fail to comply with the requirements of Oakland’s Tenant Move Out Agreement Ordinance (O.M.C. 8.22.700, et seq.) may be subject to more significant penalties if the tenant is elderly, disabled, or catastrophically ill. As defined in the Ordinance, elderly tenants are sixty (60) years of age or older. Tenants are disabled if they are disabled under Section 12926 of the California Government Code. Tenants are catastrophically ill if they are both disabled under Section 12926 of the California Government Code and suffering from a life-threatening illness, as certified by their primary care physician. Do you believe that you are elderly, disabled, or catastrophically ill as those terms are defined above? Yes ____________ No ____________ I don’t know ____________ I prefer not to say ____________ .”
(15) A space for the owner to sign and write the date on which the owner provided the tenant with the disclosure form; and
(16) A space for each tenant to sign and write the date on which they received the disclosure form.
B. The owner shall provide the tenant with a fully executed copy of the disclosure form, or a copy of the disclosure form executed by the owner, within three (3) days of execution.
C. The owner shall retain at least one (1) copy of each executed disclosure form, or the disclosure form executed by the owner along with a proof of service to the tenant, for five (5) years after the date on which the tenant executes the form or the owner serves the form. the owner shall maintain a record of the date(s) on which the owner provided the disclosure form to each tenant.
D. Prior to commencing move out negotiations for a rental unit, the owner shall provide the following information to the Rent Adjustment Program, on a form prescribed by the Rent Adjustment Program and signed by the Owner under penalty of perjury:
(1) The owner’s name, business address, business email address, business telephone number, and authorized agent, if applicable;
(2) The address of the rental unit that may be the subject of move out negotiations;
(3) A list of all dates on which the owner initiated other move out negotiations with any current or prior tenants at the property and the rental units occupied by each tenant, completed to the best of the owner’s recollection and knowledge; and
(4) A statement that the owner provided each tenant with the disclosure form required under this Section.
(Ord. No. 13483, § 1, 4-17-2018)
Requirements for Move Out Agreements – Oakland Municipal Code 8.22.740:
A. Every move out agreement shall be in writing.
(1) If the tenant is proficient in Spanish or Chinese and is not proficient in English, the owner shall make a copy of the move out agreement available in the tenant’s language of proficiency. If the owner negotiated the terms of the rental agreement in a non-English language, the owner shall make a copy of the move out agreement available in that language. The owner shall provide the tenant with the non-English copy of the agreement at the same time that the move out agreement is presented to the tenant.
(2) Immediately after the parties execute the move out agreement, the owner shall give each tenant a copy of the fully executed agreement to retain for the tenant’s records. The owner will provide and retain a proof of service of the executed move out agreement.
B. Every move out agreement shall include the following statements in a size equal to or at least fourteen (14) point type in close proximity to the space reserved for the signature of the tenant(s):
(1) “You, the tenant, may cancel this agreement in writing at any time up to and including the twenty-fifth (25th) day after all parties have signed this agreement, unless you, any other tenants who signed the agreement, and your landlord agree in writing to a shorter rescission period of not less than fifteen (15) days. However, rescission is not effective if you have moved out. To cancel this agreement, send notification of your intent to rescind to the Owner by any means through which you have agreed to communicate. If you have not agreed to a particular mode of communication, either personally serve the Owner with the notice or send the notice by registered and first class mail to the last known address of the property owner. If the document is returned undelivered, use reasonable means to notify the Owner of the rescission.”
(2) “You have a right not to enter into a Move Out Agreement.”
(3) “If you are entitled to relocation payments under federal, state, or local law, a Move Out Agreement for less than the amount of the relocation payments to which you are entitled violates Oakland’s Tenant Move Out Agreement Ordinance (O.M.C. 8.22.700 et seq.) and is voidable by you.”
(4) “You may choose to consult with an attorney and/or a tenants’ rights organization before signing this agreement.”
(5) “Owners who fail to comply with the requirements of Oakland’s Tenant Move Out Agreement Ordinance (O.M.C. 8.22.700, et seq.) may be subject to more significant penalties if the tenant is elderly, disabled, or catastrophically ill. As defined in the Ordinance, elderly tenants are sixty (60) years of age or older. Tenants are disabled if they are disabled under Section 12926 of the California Government Code. Tenants are catastrophically ill if they are both disabled under Section 12926 of the California Government Code and suffering from a life-threatening illness, as certified by their primary care physician. Do you believe that you are elderly, disabled, or catastrophically ill as those terms are defined above? Yes ____________ No ____________ I don’t know ____________ I prefer not to say ____________ .”
(6) “Owners who recover possession of a rental unit pursuant to Sections 8.22.360 A.8. (owner move-back), A.9. (owner or relative occupancy), A.10. (repairs), and A.11. (taking the property off the rental market) of the Oakland Municipal Code must comply with certain requirements. In the 180 days preceding execution of this agreement, did you (the owner), or any of your agents or representatives either a) issue a notice terminating tenancy to any of the tenants who are parties to this agreement or b) otherwise communicate orally or in writing to any of those tenants that you intended to recover possession of the unit under any of these O.M.C. Sections? Yes ____________ No ____________ . If so, which section? ____________ .”
Immediately after Items 1-4, there shall be a line for each tenant to affix their initials. the question listed as item 5 shall appear in the move out agreement once for each tenant who is a party to the move out agreement. A space for the tenant to affix their initials shall be provided next to the question. The question listed as item 6 shall be answered by the owner under penalty of perjury.
C. Move out agreements must be for greater than the amount of the relocation payments to which the tenant may be entitled under Oakland, state, or federal law. Move out agreements for less than the amount to which the tenant is entitled in relocation payments are in violation of this Article and can be regarded by the tenant as non-compliant move out agreements.
(Ord. No. 13483, § 1, 4-17-2018)