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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.



How I Stopped Squatters From Returning After Eviction In Oakland California?

I recently ran into a new wave of squatters. If you don’t know what squatters are, please refer to a past article I wrote titled “How to Evict Squatters.” I was hired to sell a house on 64th Avenue, in Oakland, and to my surprise I was successful evicting the squatters. However, I say that with much hesitation—here’s why!

On the day of the eviction, instead of finding only a few squatters, my team encountered some new variables. Instead of one group of squatters, we encountered 9 people consisting of 2 separate groups and 8 pit bulls at the residence.

East Oakland California


How To Be Smart Doing An Eviction in San Francisco Bay Area

Recently, we did an eviction in Oakland dealing with squatters, on the day of the eviction, most inexperienced people are unprepared to deal with the uncontrolled variables of stressful evictions.

First of the all, the mindset is that you might feel sorry for evicting someone. I don’t know why especially if your property is not making you any money; and tenant(s) has stopped paying rent. Or this person is a “Squatter” hell bent on manipulating the laws while costing you thousands of dollars.

Most evictions could be negotiated however people tend to stop communicating with said landlords. Or they just plain get ornery thinking they’re a looser and the owner is a super-rich billionaire devoid of any emotions. Most landlords are modern day people living paycheck to paycheck like others.

On the day of the eviction, the sheriff will only give you minimum help at best, they expect you to be professional, on time and prepared to take possession of the property of the day of eviction.

Here’s a few quick tips to help you if you decide to go it alone on the day of Eviction:

  1. Hire a professional locksmith on the day of eviction. Expect to spend minimum $200 for the time of the locksmith and if he needs to rekey the place you might spend extra.
  2. Be prepared for unruly tenants or squatters that will try to fight you in some cases, get unruly and verbally abuse you.
  3. Be ready to give the sheriff any information regarding eviction to help their safety. For example, if tenant has been acting strangely, weird or volatile. The sheriff needs this information for their safety and yours.
  4. Don’t take it personal. Don’t respond to potential verbal abuse from evicted tenants

Performing an eviction is a smart move for a landlord that has tried to work out an amicable outcome before even arising to this outcome.

Jonathan Fleming runs a full service real estate services company located in the 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 or 800-892-1755, Ext 7.