Step 3: Analyzing Oakland’s Tenures – Legal Protections and Advocacy

We examined the legal protections and advocacy landscape across Oakland’s diverse housing tenure landscape. We analyzed the extent to which Oakland’s 56 housing tenures are protected in the face of different forms of displacement, which institutions provide resources for residents experiencing housing challenges in relation to each tenure, and which institutions are fighting to improve the rights of each tenure.

We examined the legal protections and advocacy landscape across Oakland’s diverse housing tenure landscape. We analyzed the extent to which Oakland’s 56 housing tenures are protected in the face of different forms of displacement, which institutions provide resources for residents experiencing housing challenges in relation to each tenure, and which institutions are fighting to improve the rights of each tenure.

We relied on desk research and interviews with housing advocates to complete this analysis. Our approach was iterative in anture, and we cast a wide net in terms of the types of sources of information we relied upon to compile our tenure-level analysis. Local knowledge and context was critical to conducting this analysis, given the highly complex and fast-changing housing landscape in Oakland. In addition to interviews with local housing advocates and organizers, online resources from national and local organizations provided critical guidance. The Oakland Tenant Rights Handbook, the Oakland Tenants Union website, and the Roadmap report provided essential sources. Media reports were used to investigate emerging issues and tenure groups that are not protected within the existing legal protections and advocacy landscape, while official communications from city officials provided a vital source of information on topics like homelessness. Finally, support from graduate student researchers in the UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning enabled us to learn through regional comparisons on various topics, including tenant protections in subsidized housing in nearby Richmond (Verma, 2018), and the emergence of tiny houses to address homelessness in Alameda County (Coleman, 2018).

The legal protections and advocacy analysis was conducted in parallel, and the results were compiled in spreadsheets:


Results: Legal Protections

For the legal protections analysis, we researched each Oakland housing tenure with three overarching questions in mind:

  1. What protections exist to protect Oakland residents from direct displacement? For this question, we looked for evidence of protections from being displaced, price controls, dispute management support, financial support, and use conversation regulations.
  2. What protections exist to protect residents from indirect displacement, including conditions that might make their living situation feel so untenable that they would feel the need to leave? Here, we searched for data on harassment protections, right to repair and habitability protections, and security-related protections.
  3. What mechanisms are in place to respond when occupants are forced by circumstances to leave their current living situation? For this final question, we examined if relocation benefits exist for each tenure.

Click here to see the full results of the legal protection analysis.


Results: Advocacy Analysis

For the advocacy analysis, we answered two questions for each Oakland tenure type:

  1. Who does an occupant go to if they have an issue? Here, we examined what organizations and programs are available for residents of each tenure.
  2. Who is fighting to improve the rights of each tenure, if at all? We mapped out who the advocates are for each tenure, ranging from professional advocacy organizations, grassroots organizers, local and state politicians, and developers.

Click here to see the full results of the advocacy analysis.

Continue to Step 4: Recommendations for Protecting Oakland’s Diverse Housing Tenures