City Reminds Small Business Owners of Available Resources
Oakland, CA – On July 21, 2020, Oakland City Council amended the Ordinances on the local commercial eviction moratorium to conform with the Governor’s Executive Order. The current Executive Order is set to expire on Thursday, September 30, 2021. The protections that prevented commercial evictions of small businesses and non-profit organizations for nonpayment of rent will end on that day. Back rent may be due in full depending on the payment plan or other agreement negotiated between the tenant and landlord. The moratorium on residential evictions remains in effect until the end of the Local Emergency as declared by Oakland City Council.
Through grants from the City of Oakland, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) has provided webinars and one-on-one consultations on commercial lease negotiations for the last 10 months. Lease negotiation webinar recordings and presentation slides are available in multiple languages at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/coronavirus-2019-covid-19-business-and-worker-resources#eviction-moratorium
In addition to monthly Virtual Legal Services Clinics, LCCRSF is offering one-on-one consultations on commercial leases through the Legal Services for Entrepreneurs program. Apply at: https://lccrsf.org/get-assistance/legal-services-for-entrepreneurs/commercial-tenant-legal-assistance/
Businesses with specific commercial lease questions can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In October, LCCRSF will host both in-person and virtual “Know Your Rights for Commercial Tenants” seminars to assist owners who face eviction once the moratorium ends. Both sessions will cover the eviction process and legal protections available throughout the process. Seminar details and registration links will be posted shortly at: https://www.oaklandca.gov/resources/coronavirus-2019-covid-19-business-and-worker-resources#eviction-moratorium
Commercial tenants seeking additional information and support on the eviction moratorium can contact:
- Alameda County Superior Court Self-Help Center for phone and video consultations as well as a live chat feature
- Alameda County Bar Association for a referral to a lawyer
- Virtual Lawyers in the Library for free information and a referral program
Business owners and entrepreneurs with general business questions can connect with City staff through the Remote Business Assistance Center (BAC) pilot program. Oakland Economic & Workforce Development staff will be available for 30-minute appointments at five library locations:
- West Oakland (every other Monday morning)
- 81st Avenue (every other Tuesday evening)
- César E. Chávez (every other Wednesday evening)
- Golden Gate (every other Thursday morning)
- Eastmont (every other Friday afternoon)
Appointments through December are by reservation only. To schedule an appointment, visit www.oaklandca.gov/RemoteBAC. For help scheduling an appointment, call (510) 238-7398.
Residential Eviction Moratorium Not Impacted
The statewide eviction and rent increase moratorium ends September 30, 2021. This does not affect Oakland’s residential moratorium which will last until the Local Emergency is terminated by Oakland City Council. Have questions about residential rent? Ask before you act! Contact a RAP housing counselor at (510) 238-3721 or email@example.com.
Leading by Example
After convening business owners, property owners and investors on restructuring leases, the Oakland Economic Recovery Advisory Council recommended that landlords work with businesses to develop terms that include a combination of rent forgiveness, deferral and elimination of fixed monthly payments, replaced by percent of sales.
At its June 1, 2021 meeting, the Oakland City Council adopted an Ordinance that allowed amendments to lease agreements with seven tenants in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza to forgive up to 50 percent of rent balances. The Ordinance also allowed up to a one-year period of reduced rent to further aid the small business and nonprofit tenants in their recovery. It was deemed that departure or closure of these businesses would create vacancies in the Plaza that would be difficult for the City to fill at comparable rental rates in the near-term and could eliminate jobs. The City Council determined that providing reasonable rent reduction and forgiveness would minimize potential lost revenue to the City and avoid further worsening of Plaza conditions.
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