If you’ve rented a home in the Portland Oregon Rental Market over the last five years you know how tough it can be to get approved for a home here. This is thanks in large part to the criteria that landlords set and it can be especially difficult for people to rent in Portland if they have poor credit or a criminal history.
Things could change for renters who have been pushed out of the PDX rental market due to their credit or criminal records thanks to a proposal by city council member Chole Eudaly which could force landlords to adopt looser standards for screening potential tenants.
About The City Council Proposal
The proposal, brought by Commissioner Chole Eudaly and headed to the City Council next week, encourages landlords to use prescribed criteria that could double the number of renters getting approved compared with the industry standard.
If landlords chose not to follow the looser checks, they could do their typical tenant review but then would have to jump through some extra city hoops that add costs and processing time.
Beyond long-standing fair housing laws that bar discrimination against protected classes such as race, sex and familial status, few other U.S. cities have waded as far as this into how property owners may choose occupants for their housing.
Eudaly, who won her seat on a campaign that focused on tenant protections based on her own experience as a renter, has long sought to address screening criteria. She was set to bring forward a proposal in September but withdrew it for further development.
“It doesn’t solve all the problems,” said Jamey Duhamel, Eudaly’s policy director. “This is our best foot forward based on what we know: Housing is a basic need and a human right.”
Tenant activists say good renters increasingly bump up against barriers that keep them from finding a home, and the problem’s only gotten worse with the city’s recent rental housing shortage.
“Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from somebody who doesn’t make enough money to qualify or their credit’s not high enough, but of course their credit’s not high enough because they’re paying the rent first,” said Margot Black, an organizer for Portland Tenants United.
Landlords say the new rules will force some small operators out of the business, worsening the housing shortage. And the lower screening bar could put their properties or other tenants at risk, they say.
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