At the beginning of February 2017, the Portland City Council adopted new housing laws that give tenants additional protections from the stressed housing market. Tenants affected by these new laws may be entitled to thousands of dollars in compensation from their landlords. Here is what you need to know about the new laws:
Relocation Assistance – Cash from your Landlord
Under certain circumstances, if a landlord displaces you from your Portland home, they must pay you cash to help make your transition easier. The amount of cash they owe you depends on the size of your home:
- Studio or single room occupancy: $2,900.00
- One-bedroom home: $3,300.00
- Two-bedroom home: $4,200.00
- Three-bedroom home or larger: $4,500.00
The city ordinance applies in three different circumstances:
1)Your Landlord Gives You a No Cause Notice of Termination, or a Landlord-Based Cause Notice of Termination
If your landlord gives you a written notice that they are terminating your tenancy without stated cause, or via one of the landlord-based causes created by SB 608, this triggers Portland’s new law. The landlord’s cash payment to you will be due at least 45 days before the date designated in the notice of termination.
2)Your Landlord Refuses to Renew Your Lease
The cash relocation assistance requirement also applies if your landlord refuses to renew your fixed-term lease when it expires, on substantially the same terms as the existing lease. Note that the landlord can offer you a renewal with an increased rent without having to pay relocation assistance, as long as the rent increase would not be 10% or more.
3)Your Landlord Increases Your Rent by 10% or more
The cash relocation assistance requirement also applies if your landlord raises your rent by 10% or more within a 12-month period, but only if the rent increase means that you choose to move out rather than stay and pay the increased rent. And, you must quickly provide your landlord a written notice of your intent to move out in order to qualify for the payment.
As you might expect, the law contains some exceptions for various situations landlords might be in. Many of these exceptions require a landlord to first apply for an exemption from the City of Portland. Some of the exceptions require that a landlord notify you of their exempt status before your tenancy begins.
As with all landlord-tenant laws, things get very technical, and minor mistakes by either side can make a big difference. Don’t let landlords deny you the money that you are owed. If you want to be sure that your rights are protected, hire a lawyer from Portland Defender – we have helped thousands of tenants!