As large cities across the nation struggle with providing affordable housing, the city of Portland has begun to make moves to try to ease the situation—however, you probably won’t like it. Aiming to curb rising rental prices and increasing lack of affordable housing, the city has passed a law that requires landlords to pay their tenant’s move out fees. Alongside proposed legislation in California, be aware that other rental control legislation could pop up throughout the nation.
The new Portland housing policy, introduced by Commissioner Choloe Eudaly, passed the City Council on February 2nd, which requires landlords to pay their tenants a relocation fee if they are evicted without cause or if the rent is raised more than 10%. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the fee can range from $2,900 to $4,500 depending on the size of the rental. Currently, single family home rentals and landlords who are moving back into their homes after an absence of 3 years or less are exempt. The law will be in effect until October of 2017 (when the city’s emergency housing status of 2015 will expire).
While Commissioner Eudaly believes that the new rule is the first step to addressing Portland’s housing emergency, in the Oregonian she also urges that this is a “temporary emergency ordinance” and is “not perfect”. In fact, all five city commissioners acknowledged that the new rule is imperfect and may have some unintended consequences.
With the new bill, as you can imagine, many in the rental industry are not happy with the new ordinance. One landlord in particular, Nishant Bhajaria, argues that that the housing crisis is not only caused by recent rent increases, citing “high volume migration to Portland, limited construction, and the fact that the jobs many longtime Portlanders hold simply do not pay enough to match today’s cost of living”. Prior the ordinance passing, property management group, Multifamily North West, made claims in January that they would sue the city if the law passed, arguing that the bill conflicts with existing Orgeon state law (which prohibits rent control measures). However, the management group has not yet followed up with a formal lawsuit.
As California just proposed legislation that would remove their rent control measures, and this bill (that inadvertently applies rent caps) was passed, it’s become obvious that legislators have become impatient to provide affordable housing. But the question is, will this become a nationwide trend? For the next few months, Portland landlords and real estate agents will have to pray (or use our free tenant screening) that their tenants won’t need to be evicted.
Do you think Portland’s new legislation violates Oregon state law? Do you think rental controls or legislation that similarly creates that effect, will become a nationwide trend? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below & be sure to subscribe!