Portland landlords now face a permanent policy that forces them to pay tenant moving costs if they want to increase rent by 10 percent or do no-cause evictions to move tenants out to rehab old apartment buildings to upgrade them, according to reports.
Landlords see the ordinance as disguised rent control.
The permanent renter protection policy requires landlords to pay tenant moving costs ranging from $2,900 to $4,500 to tenants subject to no-cause evictions or who choose to move if their rents are raised more than 10 percent a year.
The council revoked an exemption for landlords who own just one rental unit, except in limited circumstances. The revised policy is effective immediately, according to reports.
“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work through some complex issues and arrive at a consensus policy that will, after today, become permanent City law,” Commissioner Nick Fish said in a release.
“There’s no shortage of anxiety and uncertainty in the world and in our community right now. Portland tenants shouldn’t have to worry whether they’re going to come home to notice of a 20 percent rent increase. Or whether their child is going to have to change schools and start over somewhere new mid-year. Whether they’ll have to choose between groceries or medicine. Or whether they’ll be able to keep a roof over their family’s head. The market forces at work here are too big for any local government to contain, but we have an obligation to step up and lead in ways that we can,” Fish said in the release.
Mayor Ted Wheeler who had earlier said he wanted more study on the issue, changed his mind and voted to remove the exemption for small landlords who own only one property and require them to comply with the moving ordinance.
Removing the small landlord exemption came after a research study
Chariot Wheel Research Consultants authored the study which says, “This single-unit exemption not only undermines the spirit of the law, it leaves nearly 20% of renter households vulnerable to the same double-digit rent increases and no-cause evictions which precipitated the housing state of emergency to begin with, thus perpetuating and exacerbating the very hardships the RELO ordinance seeks to mitigate.”
Landlords continue fight against the relocation ordinance
Last year, John DiLorenzo, attorney for two landlords challenging the ordinance in court said, “Though we appreciate the time and effort the court expended on this case, we still strongly believe the ordinance will only aggravate Portland’s housing crisis. The court failed to see it for what it is – disguised rent control, which violates state statutes and the Oregon Constitution,” DiLorenzo said.
Summary of changes to Portland tenant moving ordinance
Attorney Leah Sykes with Greenspoon Marder LP wrote that in addition to making the ordinance permanent, the City made numerous other changes. The exemption for owners of a single rental dwelling within the City was removed and the following 12 highly specific exemptions from the relocation fee requirements were implemented:
- Rental Agreements for week-to-week tenancies;
- Tenants that occupy the same Dwelling Unit as the Landlord;
- Tenants that occupy one Dwelling Unit in a Duplex where the Landlord’s principal residence is the second Dwelling Unit in the same Duplex;
- Tenants that occupy an Accessory Dwelling Unit that is subject to the Act in the City of Portland so long as the owner of the Accessory Dwelling Unit lives on the site;
- A Landlord that temporarily rents out the Landlord’s principal residence during the Landlord’s absence of not more than 3 years;
- A Landlord that temporarily rents out the Landlord’s principal residence during the Landlord’s absence due to active duty military service;
- A Dwelling Unit where the Landlord is terminating the Rental Agreement in order for an immediate family member to occupy the Dwelling Unit;
- A Dwelling Unit regulated as affordable housing by a federal, state or local government for a period of at least 60 years.
- A Dwelling Unit that is subject to and in compliance with the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970;
- A Dwelling Unit rendered uninhabitable not due to the action or inaction of a Landlord orTenant;
- A Dwelling Unit rented for less than 6 months with appropriate verification of the submission of a demolition permit prior to the Tenant renting the Dwelling Unit;
- A Dwelling Unit where the Landlord has provided a fixed term tenancy and notified the Tenant prior to occupancy, of the Landlord’s intent to sell or permanently convert the Dwelling Unit to a use other than as a Dwelling Unit subject to the Act.
In addition Sykes wrote, “It is extremely important to note that these exemptions are only available to landlords AFTER the landlord completes and submits the required exemption reporting forms to the Portland Housing Bureau. As revised, these narrow exemptions appear to extend to companies managing such properties on behalf of an exempt owner.”