City Council passes rental screening reforms
Portland City Council passed a sweeping set of regulations intended to reduce housing discrimination and improve access to rental housing on Wednesday, June 19.
The Fair Access in Renting regulations — or FAIR — sponsored by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly passed 3 to 1. Voting with Eudaly were Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Nick Fish. Voting no was Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty was absent.
FAIR will change the criteria used to screen potential tenants and regulate the security deposit process. It changes the screening criteria, limiting the use of credit and criminal histories, changing income requirements and doing away with the need for a government ID.
Eudaly has been pushing for this ordinance for two years, gaining the support of many local renters and tenant advocacy groups. Many landlords opposed the regulations, however.
"It is no secret that Portland has a long history of overtly racist housing laws — the effects of which still shape our City today. What we fail to acknowledge more readily is that many of our current laws continue to uphold discriminatory practices," Eudaly said.
Although Wheeler voted in favor, he said one problem with the new policy is there is no budget for its implementation. Wheeler said he will not support taking funding from public safety.
Fritz cited a potential adverse effect on affordable housing for her opposition.
"Many people can not afford rent in Portland," Fritz said. "This policy not only doesn't solve the problem, it may exasperate it. One way is through loss of rental stock. Landlords are just not threatening to sell their rental stocks because of this policy — they already have."
The new rules go into effect next March if funding is implemented.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.