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Don’t Get Lazy, Bay Area Landlords: Raising Section 8 Rents

Are you leaving rent money on the table?


Property management is similar to fitness training. Getting into great physical shape requires a routine, and so does taking care of your income property investment.

For example, a number of my new clients do not understand the need to maintain raising rent schedules in a timely way.  


Section 8 rents are now under control of Oakland’s brutal Rent Control Ordinances. This means that many landlords are stuck with rents from back in the 80s when Michael Jackson’s Thriller was popular!

I constantly counsel landlords about being vigilant in raising rents annually. This allows you to be honest with yourself about the increasing costs of property ownership.

One of my recent clients had not raised rents on her Section 8 clients for about 6 years. Owner went from rents of $1,400 a month to $2,300 a month in the span of one year. Additionally, owner’s  rental income property was in the heart of Downtown Oakland close to transportation, nightlife, BART and 10 minutes to San Francisco.

This was an A Plus location consisting of some of Oakland’s highest rents and very low vacancy numbers that bumped into owner’s rental income! Owner scored a touchdown.

Let’s examine it further.  Bumping up the rent by $900 a month allowed her to:

  • Make much needed repairs to property
  • Pay back some taxes owed on property
  • Made her investment cash flow positive once more

Why hadn’t this client raised rents before? Well, similar to how we fall out of our workout routines sometimes,  we get plain lazy and allow bad habits to creep in. As property owners, it’s also easy to get jaded by tough rent control laws enacted by local (and perhaps myopic?) politicians.  

So, how do you raise Section 8 rents?  

  1. Contact Section 8 Housing in your respective counties to get the rental increase forms or click here and here.
  2. Send your tenant a 60 day notice of rent increase if they have been there more than a year. Use some sort of verification when you send it. You could either give it to them in person or via registered mail. You must document that you notified the tenant, but no need to get too fancy!
  3. Send the required information to the Oakland Housing Authority by emailing  

So, how does this affect Oakland’s current rental market?  

Increasing rents increases multi-family values! According to Zumper’s National Rent Report for March 2016, Oakland’s rents continue to rise rapidly. Zumper’s data shows Oakland tied in fourth place with San Jose, at a record high $2,250 for a one-bedroom. This is a 13.6% increase for Oakland.  

If you need advice about how to raise your Section 8 rents, or what raising rents means for you, contact me.

Jonathan Fleming is a licensed California Real Estate Broker, and he runs Openworld Properties, a full-service real estate services company located in the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area;. His company handles Sales, Leasing, and Management of residential and commercial properties throughout Northern California. He can be reached at (510) 250-0946.



Posted by: Jonathan Fleming on July 6, 2016
Posted in: Uncategorized