Two Portland landlords who challenged tenant protection policies adopted by the City Council in February have appealed a Multnomah County Circuit Court ruling that upheld their legality.
The landlords claim the protections are a defacto local rent control program, something currently prohibited by state law. The 2017 Oregon Legislature considered a bill to repeal the prohibition but did not pass it.
The appeal was file Friday with the Oregon Court of Appeals. It alleges that Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Henry Breithaupt erred when he upheld the protections on July 14.
The protections were in an ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. They require landlords to pay relocation costs up to three months rent to tenants evicted without a stated cause, who chose to move after their rents are increased 10 percent or more in one year, or who reach the end of their lease for a set term and are not offered a renewal. Although the requirments are set to expire later this year, the majority of the council has already indicated they will not only renew but expand them.
"Though we appreciate the time and effort the court expended on this case, we still strongly believe the ordinance will only aggravate Portland's housing crisis. The court failed to see it for what it is — disguised rent control, which violates state statutes and the Oregon Constitution," says attorney John DiLorenzo, who represents the landords, Phillip Owen and Michael Feves.
DiLorenzo also argues that because the protections apply to existing leases, they impairs contracts in violation of the state Contract Clause, Article I, section 21, of the Oregon Constitution.
Eudaly issued the following statement in response:
"The ruling from Judge Breithaupt was clear and comprehensive. It is disappointing that DiLorenzo and the landlord lobby continue to waste time and money fighting the city in its efforts to stabilize families in their homes. Their time might be better spent helping us find additional solutions to the housing crisis instead of trying to take away the only tool we have to help vulnerable people."
To read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue, go to http://tinyurl.com/ybepm3yj.