Frustrated about new city ordinances and relocation fees? You are not alone.
The City of Portland is trailblazing new territory in landlord tenant law in Oregon. Heralded by a new Commissioner that seems hell-bent on pushing an agenda that aims for rent control, the city's landlord tenant laws are now much more complex than they have been in the past.
Beginning February 2017, Portland passed a Relocation Assistance Ordinance that has put restrictions on landlords when it comes to rental increases and no-cause notices to vacate. These changes are making many people's head spin and many landlords are finding that this ordinance has far reaching implications and ill thought-through consequences.
Relocation Assistance Overview
Rental Increases: If a landlord increases the rent 10% or more in a 12-month period, then the tenant has 45 days to write the landlord to say that the increase has forced them to move. Within 31 days after that, the landlord must pay the tenant relocation costs. If the tenant does not move out, the landlord does not have to pay relocation fees.
No Cause Notices to Vacate: Landlords can still tender No-Cause Notices to Vacate the premises to a tenant, but the landlord will then have to pay relocation costs to the tenant within 45 days of tendering the notice. This payment does not require tenants to ask the landlord for the money.
Relocation Fees: The relocation fees vary according to the size of the rental unit:
- Studio $2,900
- One-bedroom $3,300
- Two-bedroom $4,200
- Three-bedroom (or larger) $4,500
Exceptions to the rule: There are exceptions to the rule, however, these are narrow and it is recommended that landlords understand these exceptions fully before making decisive action. Landlords that are exempt from paying relocation fees will have the following:
- Tenants who rent a room in a house shared by the landlord
- Week-to-Week tenancies
- "Sabbatical" leases up to 3 years that allow a landlord to move back into their property
- Own no other rental units in the city of Portland
How This Has Affected Landlords Thus Far
This ordinance now affects our daily property management actions, and we constantly field questions from Portland landlords concerning their rental units and their tenants. The major problem that we have with the ordinance is that it has effectively eliminated the fixed-term lease.
The city now says that if a landlord chooses not to renew a lease then the tenant is owed relocation fees. The only way to effectively have a tenant vacate the property is either through their voluntary choice, or pursuing an expensive and time consuming For-Cause eviction.
Timelines are now very important for landlords to follow. The Portland landlord tenant laws are DIFFERENT than Oregon state laws, and many landlords are confusing the two. Landlords come to us on a regular basis after having given their tenants a rental increase or a notice to vacate only to find that they are now in serious jeopardy of having to pay big relocation fees.
The smart choice for Portland landlords is to is know the ordinance and know how it affects them. If you have questions or concerns about your rental property or tenants as it relates to the Relocation ordinance, leave a comment or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.