City Tenant Protections That Require Landlords to Pay Moving Costs After Sharp Rent Increases Will Likely Become Permanent Today

But a gap in the ordinance may incentivize small landlords to raise the rent and evict renters for the next month, tenant advocates worry.

City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor Ted Wheeler (Daniel Stindt)

Portland City Council is expected to vote today to make permanent the tenant protection ordinance that requires many of the city's landlords to pay the moving costs of tenants facing a no-cause eviction or a rent increase of 10 percent or more.

The revised ordinance, if approved, will also close the existing exemption for some landlords who own only one unit.  (An exemption will continue to exist for owners of backyard cottages and other accessory-dwelling units as well as for duplexes, where an owner occupies one of the two units.)

Mayor Ted Wheeler reversed course earlier this month, supporting a narrowing of the exemption that Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and tenant groups had pushed for.

But the decision to strengthen the ordinance has won him criticism from landlords, including two who've resigned advisory positions with the city's housing bureau in protest.

The new ordinance, unlike in the previous version, will not be retroactive and not take effect immediately.

Emergency ordinances—which take effect immediately—require at least four votes with no opposition. It's not clear whether Commissioner Amanda Fritz will vote for the ordinance, which could explain why the resolution was not drafted to take effect immediately. (She supported the exemption for small landlords when it was last before council.)

It's also not clear why the ordinance, unlike the previous one, won't be retroactive. But the prospect that tighter regulation will inspire evictions by landlords has Eudaly and other tenant advocates worried.

"We have concerns about what that will mean vulnerable tenants," says Jamey Duhamel, policy director for Eudaly's office. "We have had very thorough and good conversations with the mayor about it.  We feel there will be some unintended consequences for renters. We look forward to having a discussion about that [at the Council hearing]."

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