Joseph TobenerJoseph Tobener is a partner at Tobener Ravenscroft. An attorney for more than fifteen years, Mr. Tobener draws on his specialized tenant law expertise to provide caring, easy-to-understand, and aggressive assistance to a diverse clientele.  He has represented thousands of Bay Area residents on tenant law issues and earned millions on behalf of his clients. He has appeared on KALW and KQED and was featured in the SF Bay Guardian, the Daily Journal, and California Lawyer. Cases he has successfully litigated have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, Reuters, and Wired. His clients have included countless lawyers, high-tech executives, mobile home residents, the San Francisco Tenants Union, and several art collectives. One of his passions is working to preserve artist live/work housing. He also worked for Home Base, a homelessness law nonprofit and has been an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University and UC Hastings. The firm is dedicated to employee activism, and sponsors each of its lawyers to volunteer weekly in the community at housing rights nonprofits, donating nearly 500 attorney hours each year.

EDUCATION

JD, UC Hastings College of Law
MS, San Francisco State University
BA, University of California, Los Angeles

jtobener@tobenerlaw.com

Articles

Landlords’ Duty To Prevent Crime

September 12, 2018

Landlords have a duty to take reasonable measures to protect their tenants from foreseeable crime on their properties. Landlords have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect tenants from the foreseeable criminal acts of another. CAL. CIV. CODE § 1714. Criminal acts can include conduct such as assault, battery, robbery, murder, rape, drug abuse, […] Read More

Noise Complaints: What can a Tenant do About Excessive and Continuous Noise Distrubances

August 13, 2018

Are tenants entitled to live in an apartment free from constant loud noise? Excessive continuous noise can impact a person’s health and well-being. Implied in all California leases is a covenant of “quiet enjoyment”. CAL. CIV. CODE § 1927. Landlords have a duty to ensure that tenants can peaceful possess their rental unit free of […] Read More

Neighbor Disputes: What you can do to Stop Your Neighbor’s Nuisance

August 10, 2018

Is your neighbor a nuisance or merely annoying? A nuisance is “anything which is injurious to health, including but not limited to the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life […] Read More

Possible Rent Control Expansion Sets Off Debates in Bay Area

August 1, 2018

“If California voters approve Proposition 10 this fall, they won’t be ending the debate over how to address the state’s soaring rents. In fact, by repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, voters will spark a multitude of intense housing deliberations at the local level.”” “California’s Supreme Court has held that rent control laws must allow […] Read More

Oakland Has Placed a Moratorium on “Substantial Rehabilitation” Rent Ordinance Exemption Applications

July 23, 2018

Oakland recently placed a moratorium on a landlord’s ability to apply for an exemption from the Oakland Rent Adjustment Ordinance based on a “substantial rehabilitation” of a rental property. While the moratorium will remain in effect until October 21, 2018, because it was not made retroactive, landlords are continuing to pursue approval of their previously […] Read More

San Jose Rent Control

July 13, 2018

The City of san Jose Apartment Rent Ordinance and Tenant Protection Ordinance The City of San Jose has enacted the Apartment Rent Ordinance, which prevents excessive and unreasonable rent increases, and the Tenant Protection Ordinance, which protects certain tenants from eviction absent one of several enumerated just causes. These ordinances only apply to certain residential […] Read More

Supervisor Moves to strengthen renter protections in San Francisco

July 10, 2018

“A loophole in San Francisco’s eviction-control laws: Landlords and building owners can circumvent eviction protections on single-family homes and rented condominiums by jacking the rent up far above market rate, with the intent of making the residence unaffordable for the tenants. District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronen plans to introduce legislation Tuesday aiming to shut that […] Read More

Wear and Tear and Security Deposits Under California Law

July 6, 2018

Many landlords and tenants struggle with how to define “ordinary or normal wear and tear” with respect to security deposits. Most disputes over security deposits come down to what constitutes normal wear and tear. When a tenant moves out of a unit, the landlord may deduct from a tenant’s security deposit to repair damage to […] Read More

Smoking in an Apartment Building

June 18, 2018

Can landlords prohibit tenants from smoking cigarettes? Yes. Landlords have the right to prohibit smoking of cigarettes or other tobacco products in and around a rental property as long as it is written into the lease agreement. CAL. CIV. CODE § 1947.5. Many leases ban smoking of any kind, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and marijuana. E-cigarettes […] Read More

Oakland Buyout Ordinance

June 13, 2018

What units are covered by the Oakland Buyout Ordinance? The Oakland Buyout Ordinance applies to all residential rental units in Oakland, except publicly owned or operated rentals. What is my landlord required to do before approaching me about a buyout? The Oakland Buyout Ordinance requires landlords to provide each tenant in a rental unit with […] Read More