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Mayor Ted Wheeler, who oversees the city's housing bureau, has warned that Portland will soon see a flood of evictions due to COVID-19.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The change approved Wednesday, he cautioned, was merely a stopgap measure for the looming eviction crisis.Portlanders who move out of their homes due to a rent increase that kicks in over the next six months will have their relocation expenses covered under new protections passed by the City Council Wednesday.

Relocation costs were already covered for big rent hikes. Since 2017, the city has required landlords to pay for moving expenses if they increase a tenant's rent by more than 10% over the span of 12 months. The landlord must pay $2,900 to $4,500, depending on the size of the renter's home.

But during the pandemic, which has left many Portlanders with a backlog of overdue rent and no means to pay it, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he wants to protect tenants who might need to relocate due to a more minor rent hike. Earlier this month, the mayor announced he would be pushing to temporarily modify the city's renter relocation program, so that landlords must pay a tenant for moving expenses incurred due to any rent increase that kicks in during the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday, the city council unanimously passed the change. This means landlords will need to cover moving expenses for tenants who face any rent increase that goes into effect between Sept. 16 through March 31.

Oregon Public Broadfcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their full story can be found here.


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