Portland City Council has declared the city to be in a housing emergency. Rental rates have increased by 15% in 2015, and vacancy is hovering at about 3%.
The Council has announced measures to combat these issues. On October 14, 2015, the Council unanimously voted to pass an ordinance requiring residential landlords give 90 days’ notice for rent increases greater than 5% and for no-cause evictions. This is an increase from the 30 or 60 days’ notice that were previously required. If a residential landlords fails to give enough notice, he could owe the tenant “up to three months rent as well as actual damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs.” Some on the City Council, including Commissioners Dan Salzman and Nick Fish, wish they could do more to protect tenants, but state residential landlord-tenant laws prevent cities from enacting more stringent provisions, like rent control. Commissioner Salzman has promised to review and evaluate the policy in a year to see if it accomplished its goals.
The ordinance goes into effect next month. This may cause some residential landlords to rush to send out notices this month in advance of the ordinance’s effective date. The Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act (“ORLTA”) is highly technical and landlords are well advised to consult with a real estate attorney knowledgeable about ORLTA before issuing any termination or rent increase notices.
For more information, see the following Oregonian articles: