Oakland rent continues to rise, Zillow says

OAKLAND (KTVU) --According to housing website Zillow, the median price for an available rental home or unit in Oakland has risen above $3,000.

Zillow lists the rent index in September 2016 at $3,003 a month, compared to Jan. 2013 when it was estimated at $1,757 a month. The average rent price is likely well under that number, but the rent index shows that the price of what is available has increased drastically over the past few years.

The $3,000 median figure may include newly constructed units where market-rate rents tend to be higher.

At the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, tenant outreach worker Vanessa Bulnes said that figure is out of reach for much of the middle class. "It's impossible to dream of living in the city of Oakland when you see those numbers for paying rent,” Bulnes said. “People of color, African Americans, Latinos, we don’t see a future here because of the rent increase.” B

ulnes said the current tenant protections in Oakland are not enough. Counclimember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan agrees.“The rent increases we're seeing now are the highest we've ever seen,” Kaplan said.

Kapan hopes voters will approve Measure JJ on the November ballot. It would protect renters from excessive rent increases by making the landlord seek approval from the rental board first. It would also strengthen the rental board and make it harder for landlords to illegally evict tenants.

Kaplan said she believes more housing at all income levels could be the solution to rising rents and the displacement that so many are facing. “If we protect renters and we expand the supply of housing, then we could get out of this crisis,” Kaplan added.

The city has approximately 90,000 rental units, according to Erica Derryck, Communications Director for Mayor Libby Schaaf. That number does not include single-family homes. Of those units, Derryck said roughly 70,000 are covered by rent protections and just cause evictions.

If voters pass Measure JJ in November, it would extend protections to roughly 1,500 additional units.

Derryck said it is critical for Oakland tenants to know their rights and the rules that govern the units they move into. Anyone looking for more information can call the Oakland Housing Assistance Center at 510-238-6182.

By KTVU reporter Cristina Rendon