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How to Verify a Professional's License in Oakland?

The California Department of Consumer Affairs administers over 3.9 million licenses to eligible professionals in Oakland through its respective boards and bureaus. This agency issues more than 200 types of licenses, and you should always confirm that any professional you employ has obtained the relevant occupational license required for the task at hand. This can be done via the online license search tool that the Department of Consumer Affairs provides.

Also, before you can carry out some types of projects in Oakland, such as operating a business or performing construction activities on buildings and structures, you will be required to obtain a permit from the city's Planning and Building Department. Note that the permitting process varies depending on the project in question. In some cases, the project may need to conform to the design standards of one or more neighborhood and citywide plans and you may also need to obtain additional permits from other governmental agencies. Queries concerning the Oakland permitting process can be directed to either (510) 238-3891 or the online permit questions portal.

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Do Oakland Neighborhood Councils
Issue Permits?

Residents of neighborhoods in Oakland typically partner with the city through various groups that aim to address and solve neighborhood-specific problems and also build healthier, more resilient communities. However, these groups, which include neighborhood councils, neighborhood and merchant watch programs, and several informal homeowners and residents associations, are not authorized to issue permits to Oaklanders or any other interested parties. You can contact the Neighborhood Services section of the City Administrator's Office at (510) 986-2715 to get information on active neighborhood groups in your area of residence. In late May 2021, several Oakland neighborhoods spearheaded by members of the Golden Gate Community Association called for the city to put a stop to the already approved kitchen project on Adeline Street, claiming that it was improperly planned and hastily approved. A similar petition by this association in 2019 had resulted in the city council unanimously voting to uphold the appeal made by the association concerning conditional use permits and building permits that had been issued to a meat company located in the area.

How to File an Unfair Business
Complaint in Oakland?

The Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of the Alameda County District Attorney is the governmental agency that is charged with investigating and handling consumer complaints in Oakland. Aggrieved Oaklanders can file reports concerning unfair business practices with this office by completing either a Consumer Fraud Form or a Real Estate Fraud Complaint Form, depending on the nature of the complaint. The completed form, along with any supporting documents, should be submitted via mail to the following address:

  • Office of the District Attorney
  • County of Alameda
  • 7677 Oakport Street
  • Suite 650
  • Oakland, CA 94621

Queries concerning the complaint reporting process can be directed to (510) 383-8600. However, you cannot file reports through this telephone number and all complaints must be submitted via mail-in. Also, even though this office is authorized to pursue both civil and criminal actions against offending businesses and professionals, it cannot represent you if you are seeking personal remedies, such as getting your funds returned to you. To receive personal restitution from a business or professional, you should consider hiring an attorney and pursuing legal action. If the amount in dispute is not more than $10,000, then you can file a small claims case without an attorney at the Alameda County Small Claims Court located at:

  • Rene C. Davidson Courthouse
  • 1225 Fallon Street
  • Oakland, CA 94612
  • Phone: (510) 891-6000

Note that even though attorneys are not allowed to represent clients in Alameda County small claims courts, it is always a good idea to get legal advice from one before proceeding with any court case. You can also make use of the legal information and resources provided by the Alameda County Superior Court's Self-Help Center to get assistance on how to pursue your small claims case.