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Saltzman calls for greater notice to tenants on huge rent increases, evictions



COURTESY COMMUNITY ALLIANCE OF TENANTS

COURTESY COMMUNITY ALLIANCE OF TENANTS


 - Juan, Francia, and their children were displaced from their North Portland apartment home on August 31 after receiving a no-cause evictionLandlords are questioning the legality of a plan by Commissioner Dan Saltzman to extend eviction and rent increase notifications for tenants.

Saltzman announced last Wednesday that he will introduce an ordinance to the City Council extending the requirements in the state Landlord-Tenant Law.

“Portland renters need additional protections,” Saltzman said. “Our city is experiencing record low vacancy rates coupled with record high rents, creating the perfect storm of housing uncertainty for many Portland families.”

But state law preempts local regulations like the one Saltzman is proposing, according to Deborah Imse, executive director of Multifamily NW.

“Lease agreement notice issues are governed by state landlord-tenant law, and we do not support changes to the existing law on notices,” says Imse, whose not-for-profit organization represents landlords throughout the Northwest.

Saltzman’s staff says the proposal has been cleared by the City Attorneys Office.

Saltzman’s announcement came a day after a protest organized by the Community Alliance of Tenants over what the group says is an increase in “no-cause” evictions and rent increases driven by a growing demand for housing in Portland.

“Greed is overcoming many of our neighborhoods,” said Augustana Lutheran Church Pastor Mark Knudsen. “A developer can come and buy a building and evict everyone in 30 days. That is not just.”

Saltzman’s ordinance would create a new section of the City Code to give the council the authority to set notification requirements for “no-cause” evictions and certain rent increases beyond those set forth in state law.

One proposal would increase the notification time landlords have to give tenants for “no-cause” evictions to 90 days. It currently is 30 days for tenants who have rented less than a year and 60 days for tenants who have rented more than a year.

“Many families are getting notices to vacate their rental housing with just a 30-day notice and that’s just not enough time for them to find a new place to live, let alone try to keep their kids in the same school,” Saltzman said.

Another proposal would increase the notification time when a landlord raises rents by more than 10 percent in a 12-month period. It is currently 30 days and Saltzman wants to increase it to 90 days.

“Thirty days is hardly adequate for renters to budget for the exorbitant rental increases many families are facing,” Saltzman said.

Mayor Charlie Hales supports the proposals. “Dan is right,” Hales said. “Protections for renters are entwined in the city’s values of equity and affordability. I applaud his proposals.”

The ordinance is still being drafted. Saltzman plans to introduce it next month.

KOIN News 6 contributed to this story.

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