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

Landlord Retracts Outrageous Demands After Letter Goes Viral

July 5, 2017

Tenant rights attorney Jackie Ravenscroft is cited to explain the legalities when one S.F. landlord requires tenants to meet a certain income level. Causing a public outcry, the landlord of a rent-controlled building in the Lower Haight area notified his tenants they must provide proof of $100,000 annual income or move out. That, Ravenscroft says, […] Read More

Oakland Relocation Program

April 3, 2017

What is required for a temporary eviction for substantial repairs? Before sending a tenant a written notice to vacate for substantial repairs, the landlord must obtain all necessary permits from the City of Oakland. The eviction must be in good faith and be for substantial repairs that cannot be completed while the unit is occupied. […] Read More

New 2017 Tenant Laws

February 8, 2017

2017 ushered in a host of state and local laws that affect your legals rights as a tenant: New State Tenant Laws The California legislature enacted several laws protecting tenants, including creating new laws related to bed bugs, regulating condominium pesticide treatment notices and procedures, and augmenting rules pertaining to public accessibility of court records in […] Read More

Oakland Fire: Making Live-Work Spaces Safer for Tenants

December 8, 2016

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Los Gatos Rent Control

July 27, 2016

What units are covered under the Los Gatos Rent Ordinance? Properties with three or more rental units held under common ownership and located in the City of Los Gatos are covered.  The Ordinance covers all rent increases and landlord/tenant disputes arising after July 1, 1980.[1]  The following units are excluded from rent control: Multi-unit properties […] Read More

One Startup Wants To Speed Buyouts In San Francisco’s Rent-controlled Units

March 25, 2016

Tenant rights attorney Joseph Tobener comments about the pitfalls of buyouts offered by landlords for rent-controlled units. Middleman services like RentMasters can be used by owners to negotiate buyout agreements, but Tobener is wary that such agreements may put tenants at risk. He says buyouts can be “extremely legally complex,” and client interests are better […] Read More

Alameda County Mandatory Notification of Rent Mediation Services Ordinance

February 15, 2016

Effective July 1, 2004, certain tenants living in any of the unincorporated communities of Alameda County must be given information relating to available mediation services in some rent increase notices.  Which units are covered? The Mandatory Notification of Rent Mediation Services Ordinance statute covers parcels with three or more units in any unincorporated area of […] Read More

Condo Rent Control

January 14, 2016

Ever wonder if the condominium you rent is covered by rent control or exempt under Costa Hawkins? We have put together a chart that can be used to determine if in fact you are covered by rent control. Read More

San Francisco residents to vote on contentious Prop. F

November 1, 2015

Tenant lawyer Joseph Tobener comments on the benefits of Proposition F, commonly called the Airbnb initiative. Representing the San Francisco Tenants Union, Tobener says short-term rental services like Airbnb have been breaking city rental laws with impunity. The proposition, heavily opposed by Airbnb, suggested limiting the number of nights a unit can be rented to […] Read More

Aging in Place

June 17, 2015

Few decisions are as important and personal as choosing your home. As we grow older, where we choose to live takes on an even greater level of importance and complexity. As Americans continue to live longer, more seniors are choosing to remain in their homes. According to AARP, ninety percent of seniors want to age […] Read More