Please donate to our Legal Action Fund in support of the
Owens v. City of Oakland case that is now going to the state court of appeals. The central issue on appeal is whether or not a local rent board can circumvent the single-family home exemption under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act by creating an exception. This is a major case for our industry and community.
If the ruling stands, single-family homes where an owner rents out rooms under separate leases may become subject to rent control laws.
The City of Oakland, through it's Rent Adjustment Program (RAP), has decided to penalize homeowners as a means to solve the housing crisis by declaring that persons occupying rooms of a single-family home on separate lease agreements shall now be subject to rent control.
This is a direct attempt by a local government to exert control over homeowners in the name of tenants' rights.
It will ultimately have the unintended consequence of making fewer such units available for rent, thus worsening the housing crisis.
Traditionally, an owner-occupant of a single-family home choosing to have a roommate or roommates has been an acceptable form of housing controlled by the homeowner. The owner should be able to establish control of the living space in a shared home to maintain a peaceful environment, unique to each homeowner and those renters within a private home.
We must preserve small homeowners' ability to buy and maintain their homes and property and not treat them the same as large corporate landlords of apartment buildings.
We must maintain a process for people to buy a home and at the same time provide a safe and secure place for others to live — it's a win win.
Mr. Owens is not a large property owner. He owns his single-family home and is able to afford to live in his house only by renting out rooms to roommates. He has expended funds fighting Oakland's writ of mandate. He lacks the resources to continue his battle in the state court of appeals for what is really a larger issue for the greater landlord community.