Friday, March 15, 2019

Portland City Council to Vote on Security Deposit and Tenant Screening Reforms April 3, 4

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly plans to bring her proposals for security deposit and tenant screening reforms to the rest of the City Council next month. Her office has been working on drafting the changes for the past several months, and they were finalized on February 20th.

These items will be discussed in public hearings on Weds. April 3 at 2 pm AND Thursday, April 4 at Portland City Hall. City staffers have requested three hours per day for discussion and public testimony.

Please reach out to City Council (contact information below) with any questions or concerns regarding the policy proposals. Read and download the complete proposed draft here. 

Below are some of the key takeaways:

Screening Criteria
  • Applications must be processed on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Landlords may only screen heads of household unless the household or a co-applicant has been issued a violation notice in the past year
  • Landlords must specify an opening date and time when applications will be accepted for a specific unit, and cannot accept applications for that unit outside of the advertised period
  • The open application period must be posted 72 hours before the start of the application period
  • Landlords cannot require proof of income greater than twice the amount of rent
  • Applicants cannot be denied for:
    • conviction of a crime that is no longer illegal in Oregon
    • convictions in the juvenile justice system
    • conviction of misdemeanor offenses older than 3 years
    • conviction of felony offenses older than 7 years
    • rental history judgment that was entered three or more years earlier
  • Landlords cannot deny tenants due to credit scores above 500 or a lack of credit history
  • Landlords must consider supplemental evidence submitted by the applicant
  • Applicants must be allowed 30 days from the date a denial is issued to request an appeal and present evidence
Security Deposits
  • If a landlord requires last month's rent to be paid as a condition of tenancy, the security deposit cannot be more than one half of a month's rent
  • If a landlord does not require last month's rent to be paid as a condition of tenancy, the security deposit cannot be more than one month's rent
  • "Ordinary Wear and Tear" is defined as deterioration that occurs without deliberate or negligent destruction, damage, or removal of any part of the premises, equipment, furnishings, or appliances by the Tenant, a member of the Tenant household, or other persons on the premises with the Tenant's consent
  • In the event new carpet is needed, the landlord can only take into consideration the cost of the contiguous area where the carpet must be replaced due to damage
  • Landlords can only charge for repainting if repairing specific damage made to a wall beyond ordinary wear and tear
  • Movable property is presumed to depreciate at a rate of 3.6% per year over a period of 27 years
  • Any damage for which a landlord intends to withhold a portion of a tenant's security deposit must be documented in writing and include proof of depreciated value, such as original receipts
  • Landlords must place tenants' security deposits in a separate checking, savings, money market, or client trust account and provide the bank institution name and account number
    • If the account bears interest, the landlord is required to pay it in full to the tenant, minus a 5% deduction for administrative costs
City Council Contact Information:
Mayor Ted Wheeler

Commissioner Nick Fish

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

Commissioner Amanda Fritz

On its website 

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