PORTLAND, Ore. – New City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly wants landlords to pay moving fees for people who are evicted with no cause, and Mayor Ted Wheeler agrees.
The ordinance would require landlords to pay relocation fees for no-cause evictions, including application fees, security deposits, double rent, moving supplies, storage and lost wages. Wheeler has co-sponsored the proposal.
"This is really the only tool we have at our disposal," Eudaly said during an impromptu press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The ordinance is in response to the city’s housing state of emergency and is one way the city is attempting to reduce the impact of the housing crunch on Portland renters.
The ordinance is temporary and would end when the state of emergency ends. Right now, it's scheduled to stop on Oct. 6, 2017 but the city could push that back.
As part of the state of emergency, the city has already extended the notice landlords must give renters for significant rent increases or no-cause evictions to 90 days.
State law does not prohibit no-cause evictions, meaning renters are at risk of losing their homes through no fault of their own if the landlord wants to renovate, raise rents or evict people for other reasons not related to their tenancy. Rent control is also illegal in Oregon.
The legality of the proposed ordinance is unclear.
“We fully expect a lawsuit and we are confident this ordinance is defensible,” Eudaly said.
City council will vote on the ordinance on Feb. 2, according to Michael Cox, spokesman for the mayor’s office.
Rent prices in Portland have skyrocketed in the past couple of years, due in part to the city’s tight housing supply. The ordinance notes the average rent has increased nearly 30 percent since 2012.
Meanwhile, many would-be homeowners have been priced out of the housing market as home prices have also risen at a record pace.
Forty-five percent of Portlanders rent their homes and 52 percent spend more than the recommended amount of their income on rent, according to the ordinance.
The housing state of emergency was first declared in Oct. 7, 2015.