A Multnomah County judge on Friday upheld a Portland ordinance requiring landlords to help pay relocation expenses for their tenants in some circumstances.
The city’s law allows tenants to collect between $2,900 and $4,500 when landlords use no-cause evictions or raise rents more than 10 percent in a year.
Two landlords sued Portland after the council adopted the law this winter. Their attorney, John DiLorenzo, argued that the relocation aid payments violated a statewide ban on rent control and violated contract law.
But a Multnomah County judge found the state’s ban on cities imposing rent control does not prevent cities from requiring renter aid payments.
Multnomah County and Portland are what's known as home rule jurisdictions. In effect, they share lawmaking power with the state.
Portland's ordinance is set to expire in October along with the City Council’s housing emergency declaration.
Now that a judge has upheld the law, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will push to have it be made permanent, according to her policy director Jaime Duhamel.
“This is in effect all we have, so yes, we intend to make it a permanent long term law as long as we need to protect people,” Duhamel said.
A bill that would have rolled back the statewide ban on rent control and limited no fault evictions was introduced in the Legislature this session, but did not pass.
Duhamel said Eudaly's office is in touch with other cities in Oregon that were following the legal case and are interested in crafting their own relocation aid policies.
DiLorenzo was not immediately available for comment on the court ruling.