Landlords still oppose revised Portland renter rights measures
The changes Commissioner Chloe Eudaly made to her most recent renter protection measures did not satisfy the leading landlord organizations.
The City Council first heard Eudaly's measures for easing screening and security deposit requirements on April 3 and 4. Although tenant advocates supported them, landlords complained about their complexity and charged they could require them to rent to serious criminal convicts. Eudaly pushed the next hearing to Thursday, May 23, to work out compromises.
It didn't work. Multifamily NW, the major lobbying group representing Portland area landlord, still opposes the revised measures, arguing they don't address their concerns. The organization also complains the revisions were not released until Monday, May 20, a mere two days before the May 23 hearing.
The council vote cannot take place for another week, at the soonest.
Here is Multifamily NW's statement:
While we share Commissioner Eudaly's goal of improving access to housing for vulnerable populations, eliminating or watering down basic consumer protections is the absolute wrong approach. This proposal is like pushing subprime auto loans as a means to improve access to transportation.
The requirement that tenants earn three times the monthly rent is not designed to protect landlords — it's to prevent consumers from entering into housing contracts that they can't afford. That is why public housing agencies and lenders nearly across the board require applicants earn three times the monthly rent. This proposal eliminates those protections and would undeniably put more renters in risky financial situations, causing an increase in for-cause evictions.
Discretion in renting to individuals with egregious criminal backgrounds — in particular, violent and sexual crimes, is not to protect landlords. It is to protect other tenants, including young families and seniors, who may feel unsafe with a convicted murderer or rapist living in the apartment next door.
All in all, this proposal curtails basic consumer protections and the rights of existing tenants under the banner of expanding access to housing. It's a downright risky approach, and Portland can do better. That is why we are asking Commissioner Eudaly to slow this process down, delay the scheduled work-session on this flawed ordinance, and to take a more measured approach to housing access that protects the rights and safety of all Portlanders.
Eudaly's office said they will respond Tuesday, May 21.
You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue here.