Step 1: Oakland’s Housing Tenures

To create a list of housing tenures in Oakland, we initially drew upon the tenures identified in the framing paper. Our team assessed if all tenures were relevant to Oakland, and eliminated those that did not apply. From there, five tenure categories were established to group the tenures:

  • Unsubsidized rental tenures
  • Subsidized rental tenures
  • Ownership tenures
  • Third way tenures (tenures that blend the benefits of rental and ownership)
  • Informal and homeless tenures

Following this initial exercise, tenures were added through an iterative process, through interviews, stakeholder workshops, and other analysis of the Oakland case. Ultimately, 56 distinct tenure types were identified in the Oakland context:

Tenure CategoryTenure Type
Unsubsidized Rental Tenures– Lodger Law
– Subleasing
– Single-Family Rental – Attached/Detached
– Multi-Family Rental 2-3 units – all renter-occupied
– Multi-Family Rental – 2-3 units – owner-occupied
– Multi-Family Rental – 4+ units
– Residential hotels (SROs)
– Motels
– Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) – formal ADU tenant
– Religion-linked housing”
Subsidized Rental Tenures– Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)
– HUD public housing
– Project-based voucher (PBV) HUD assistance (including Section 8, Section 202, and Section 236)
– Low Income-Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)
– Senior (age-restricted) housing
– Below-market-rate (BMR) units
– Supportive housing
Ownership Tenures– Single-family homeownership (HOA)
– Single-family homeownership (no HOA)
– Single-family homeownership – permanent affordability deed
– Section 8 homeownership
– Reverse mortgage homeownership
– Condominium (condo)
– Owner-occupied multi-family (eg duplex, 4-plex)
– Owner-occupied mobile home or trailer
– Owned mobile home with ground rent
– Single-family with informal ADU
– Single-family with registered ADU
Third Way Tenures– Community Land Trusts (SFHs, multi-family)
– Limited Equity Co-Op
– Limited Equity Housing Co-Up – CLT owns land
– Resident Self-Managed Rental Housng / Non-equity co-op
– Informal shared houses
– Cohousing
Rent-to-own (private model)
– Rent-to-own with sponsoring organization (non-profit model)
Informal and Homeless Tenures– Informal ADU tenant
– Permitted community live-work / mixed-occupancy;
– Unpermitted community live-work / mixed-occupancy / other non-conforming uses
– Single-use residential with non-conforming unit (eg converted basement / garage)
– Doubling up
– Adverse possession
– Short-Term Rentals (STRs)
– Transitional Housing / Rapid Re-Housing
– Transitional Youth Housing
– Homeless shelters
– Foster care
– Outdoor Navigation Centers (ONCs)
– Self-determined tiny house encampments (eg The Village)
– Decentralized tiny houses on church / CBO property
– Services-in-place encampments
– Encampments

A full list of each tenure and their definition can be downloaded in Appendix D, available here.


In terms of selection criteria, housing tenure types were distinguished from one another insofar as there were implications for legal protections. For example, while accessory dwelling units may be similar structurally whether or not they are registered, the distinction has important legal implications for both tenants and owners. Because duplexes and triplexes may be exempt from certain tenant protections if they are owner-occupied, owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes were separated out from those in which all units are renter-occupied – and these tenancies are separated out from larger multi-family tenancies. While tiny house encampments may look similar whether organized by the city or self-determined, the experience of residents is likely to differ significantly, so these were separated out from one another.

Interviews were conducted with housing professionals after the preliminary list of tenure types was established and initial legal protections and advocacy research had been done on those types. Interviewees were asked to supplement the list with any tenure types they felt were missing, which they often did. The result is a tenure list which is representative across a wide view of the local housing landscape.

Continue to Step 2: Quantifying Oakland’s Housing by Tenure