Renter Protections Process
Renter Protections Update:
- On August 25, 2023, the Phase II Renter Protections in Ordinance 20694 became effective and enforceable.
- The administrative rules for the Ordinance are open for public comment at this time. The public comment period expires at the end of February 12, 2024. See the linked document for instructions on how to provide comments.
- The Renter Protections Code requires that landlords report Relocation Assistance Exemptions, Relocation Assistance Payments and Terminations of Tenancy/Evictions. The City has provided the following forms that landlords may use to make the reports required by the Renter Protections Code. The City will also accept reports that do not utilize the forms provided by the City as long as they include all the information required by the Renter Protections Code.
- IMPORTANT TIP: Before you begin filling out the online forms, create an online account and sign in. This will allow you to save your progress and review your submitted forms.
- Tenant Education Information is updated with Phase II Renter Protections and available for download. Landlords are required by EC 8.245 (13) to distribute this information with any written rental agreements.
Renter Protections in the City of Eugene
The City of Eugene is engaging in a multi-phase process to review and potentially update renter protections. Renter protections are broadly defined and include programs like the City’s Rental Housing Code program, which regulates rental properties in the city by creating minimum habitability standards. Renter protections can also include anti-discrimination protections like the ones found in Eugene’s Human Rights Code. They can even include rent stabilization and limitations on no-cause evictions like those found in SB 608 (2019).
Phase I and Phase II renter protection work has concluded and City Council has taken action. The tabs below contain more information about each phase of the Renter Protections process.
On July 11, 2022, City Council passed Ordinance 20670 adopting Renter Protections Phase I. Watch the July 11, 2022 session and Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials. On August 13, 2022, Ordinance 20670 went into effect and is enforceable.
Phase I Protections Include:
1. Support Services. Fund a rental housing navigator position; expansion and management of rental housing data collection; code enforcement of the protections; and other tenant support services, such as a tenant hotline and eviction diversion; all with funds from an increased Rental Housing Code door fee. The rental housing navigator will support renters and landlords, and also assist with solutions and support for a) ex-offenders and other classes of people with similar challenges struggling to qualify for rental housing, and b) community members who need ADA compliant units.
2. Move-in/out documentation. Require landlords to itemize and photo document property condition at move-in and move-out, and to itemize and photo document withholdings from security deposit. The tenant shall receive copies.
3. Rental History. Require landlord, at tenant written request, to provide rental history (reference) for a tenant who has not yet given notice. Reference Form HERE.
4. Information on Renters’ Rights/Landlords’ Obligations. Require landlords to distribute, together with any written rental agreement, an educational document describing Senate Bill 608 with regard to terminations. The City will be responsible for creating, updating, and posting the educational material. Any local renter protections will be included plus information about the rental housing code program.
5. Cap application and screening fees at $10: Require landlords to charge no more than a set application and screening fee to potential tenants.
- A lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court challenged part of the Phase I protections that Council approved in July 2022. The Court determined on January 31, 2023 that the City is preempted by state law from imposing or enforcing a $10 cap on applicant screening charges.
- City staff will not be enforcing the $10 cap on applicant screening charges.
Phase I Process:
- The City's Housing Policy Board provided recommended updates in 2021. In November 2021 Council reviewed. the Housing Policy Board's recommendations on Renter Protections. Council directed staff to assess the feasibility and resources needed to implement the renter protections consistent with the Housing Policy Board’s recommendations, and several additional considerations from Council members.
- On March 16, 2022, City Council reviewed the Renter Protections Roadmap. At that time, Council directed staff to move one item from Phase III to Phase I, capping application and screening fees at $10. Council directed staff to hold a public hearing on Phase I, and Council action would be anticipated to occur before the end of July 2022. Additional information on the Phase II protections is to come back to Council by November 1, 2022 and Phase III protections by February 1, 2023. Watch the March 16, 2022 Session and Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials.
- On June 21, 2022, City Council held a public hearing on Renter Protections in Phase I of the Renter Protections Roadmap. Twenty-five people provided public comment at the meeting. Watch the Public Hearing and Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials.
- On July 11, 2022, City Council passed ordinance 20670 adopting Renter Protections Phase I. Watch the July 11, 2022 session and Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials.
- In October, 2022, Administrative Order 53-22-08-F and Administrative Order 53-22-05-F became effective.
On July 23, 2023, City Council passed Ordinance 20694 adopting Renter Protections Phase II. Watch the July 24, 2023 session and review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials. Ordinance 20694 became effective August 25, 2023.
Phase II Renter Protections effective August 25, 2023:
1. Limit of Security Deposits. Limits landlords to charging a maximum of two times the monthly rent for a security deposit (including security, cleaning and last month rent deposits). Not including pet deposits.
Under two circumstances Landlords can collect an additional deposit of up to one month's rent*:
- If a landlord rents a unit to an applicant who does not meet their screening criteria, such as income or credit score criteria, criminal history, and previous evictions that could be used to deny an application as allowed by State law.
- If after the first year of occupancy, the land lord and tenant agree to modify the lease as allowed by State law (for example, to allow another tenant) and the new or increased deposit is related to the lease modification.*
*If a landlord requires an additional deposit, the landlord must allow the tenant at least three months to pay the additional a security deposit.
2. Processing Applications in the Order Received. Requires landlords to process applications first-come, first-served, with exemptions for:
- Affordable Housing units
- Units occupied by both the landlord and the tenant
- Middle housing units when the landlord lives on the same property as the tenant
- Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) when landlord lives on the same property as the tenant
- Shared housing with an existing tenant
- Units that are not advertised to the public
Landlords must allow applicants who need language assistance up to 24 hours of extra time to complete their applications without losing their place in line. Landlords are not required to provide translation or language assistance.
3. Relocation Assistance. Requires landlords to pay the tenant two months’ current rent of relocation assistance for:
- legal no-cause evictions
- rent increases at the maximum annual percentage allowed by state law when the tenant requests relocation assistance because they cannot afford the increased rate (effective July 6, 2023, SB 611 caps rent increases at 10% or 7% plus the CPI, whichever is lower)
- a qualifying landlord-based reasons for termination:
- The landlord intends to either demolish the unit or use the unit for something other than a residence
- The landlord intends to make repairs or renovations to the unit, and property will be unsafe to live in
- The landlord or landlord’s immediate family member plans to move in; or
- The landlord has sold the unit to someone who plans to move in.
- non-renewal of a fixed-term lease of less than one year, which includes conditioning renewal on a tenant’s agreement to a substantial change to the rental agreement
A landlord does not have to pay relocation assistance if the unit meets the requirements for one of the following eleven exemptions and the landlord complies with the notice requirements for that exemption:
- Week-to-week tenancies
- If the lease is executed AFTER August 25, 2023: (Notice of the exemption must be provided to the tenant no later than the execution of the rental agreement, and notice of the exemption must be submitted to the City within 30 days of the date it is provided to the tenant)
- If the lease is executed and effective BEFORE August 25, 2023: Notice of the exemption must be provided to the tenant and the City no later than September 24, 2023
- Landlord and tenant occupy the same dwelling
- If the lease is executed BEFORE September 1, 2023, no notice to the tenant or the City is required.
- If the lease is executed ON OR AFTER September 1, 2023: If the landlord is living in the dwelling at the time of execution of the rental agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with notice of the exemption no later than the execution of the rental agreement. If the landlord moves into the dwelling unit during the term of the rental agreement, the landlord must notify the tenant within 30 days of the date the landlord moves in that the exemption from relocation assistance will apply once the landlord has lived in the dwelling for six months. Notice of the exemption must be submitted to the City within 30 days of the date it is provided to the tenant.
- Landlord and tenant occupy the same Middle Housing parcel (same notice as #2 above)
- Landlord that rents a dwelling unit on a property with an ADU and lives on site (same notice as #2 above)
- Landlord that temporarily rents out their Principal Residence for not more than 3 years ( same notice as #1, above)
- Landlord that temporarily rents out their Principal Residence due to active military service (same notice as #1, above )
- A unit of Affordable Housing (same notice as #1, above, except that no notice to the City is required)
- A dwelling unit impacted by the federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 REGARDLESS of when the lease was executed: Notice of the exemption must be provided to the tenant at the same time that the landlord provides notice of termination of the rental agreement and notice of the exemption must be submitted to the City within 30 days of the date it is provided to the tenant.
- Dwelling Unit rendered immediately uninhabitable (same notice as #8 above)
- Dwelling Unit rented for less than 6 months with demolition permit submitted prior to signing agreement (same notice as #1 above)
- Dwelling unit subject to a fixed term tenancy where the landlord’s intent to sell or permanently convert the unit to a use other than as a dwelling unit is a term of the executed rental agreement (same notice as #1 above)
Relocation assistance requirements do not apply to terminations notices issued to tenants prior to the effective date of the Ordinance (August 25, 2023).
4. Termination of Tenancy/Eviction Reporting. Requires landlords to report termination notices to the City that result in a termination of tenancy. Evicted tenants can file a complaint (regardless of whether the person is a current tenant) about a landlord’s failure to report their eviction to the City.
Phase II Renter Protections Public Process:
- During September to early October 2022, staff researched Phase II items, hosted listening sessions, and solicited initial feedback from Housing Policy Board (HPB) on DPA.
- On October 24, 2022 Council held a work session on Renter Protections Phase II. Council directed the City Manager to bring back an ordinance limiting the amount of deposits a landlord may charge, requiring that applications be processed in the order they are received, providing for additional enforcement options for violations of the screening fee cap, and requiring eviction data reporting and providing for enforcement. Additionally, requiring landlords provide displacement prevention assistance in the amount equal to three times the current market rate rent published by HUD when either 1) the tenant is no-cause evicted or 2) the tenant rent is increased by five percent or more in a twelve month period and the tenant chooses to move rather than pay the increased rate, and create a small landlord compensation fund for landlords that earn less than 80 percent of area median income.
- HPB met to discuss DPA seven times between October 3, 2022 and April 3, 2023. HPB's finalized recommendations to Council on Relocation Assistance.
- The Phase II draft ordinance was posted on February 26, 2023.
- Council held a public hearing on the draft ordinance on March 13, 2023.
- Council discussed the draft Ordinance during work sessions held on June 21, 26, and 28, July 12, 2023. See the Public Webcasts and Meeting Materials webpage to access published meeting documents and view video recordings of previous work sessions.
- City Council took action on a revised ordinance regarding Phase II Renter Protections on July 24, 2023 at 7:30 pm.
Phase II Listening Sessions:
The City of Eugene held two small group input sessions on Renter Protections Phase II on Sept. 30, 2022. One group consisted of tenants and tenant advocates, and one group consisted of landlords, property managers, and real estate professionals. Facilitation was provided by Cogito, a public involvement firm based in Eugene. Hosted online, the purpose of the 1.5-hour meetings were to listen for feedback on Phase II components being researched. The majority of the feedback requested was on Displacement Prevention/Relocation Assistance components, using Portland as an example because it recently implemented a detailed program. Notes from each listening session can be found here.
Staff will conduct the needed additional analysis and return with an updated roadmap for Council direction after Council has concluded action on Phase II.
- The Housing Policy Board created the ad-hoc Renter Protections Committee to “identify tools and strategies to protect renters and prevent displacement in areas with changing housing market conditions in Eugene” and address the five priorities listed above.
- HPB appointed ten community members, a mix of tenants, tenant advocates, service providers, housing providers, advocates for the unhoused, and landlords.
- The Renter Protections Committee met monthly between September 2019 – July 2021 (stopping work between April and December of 2020 due to the pandemic).
- Beginning in 2021 the meetings focused on reviewing the City of Portland’s Fair Access in Renting (FAIR) Ordinance, which became effective March 1, 2020 to establish whether this may be a useful model for Eugene.
- Two subcommittees were formed, one consisting of tenants/tenant advocates and the other of landlords.
- The tenant subcommittee reviewed the FAIR Ordinance and created a report with 13 recommendations.
- The landlord subcommittee did not agree with the tenant subcommittee’s recommendations and made 5 recommendations
- HPB reviewed the Renter Protections Committee memo with recommendations from both subcommittees during HPB deliberations in the fall of 2021.
Housing Policy Board Recommendation to City Council on Renter Protections
The recommendations for renter protections made by the Housing Policy Board are focused on:
1) Protecting renters and vulnerable populations and
2) Preventing displacement.
HPB met weekly for four weeks (September 13th, 20th, 27th, and October 4th) to discuss and finalize its recommendations.
HPB provided recommended updates in November 2021
Public Comment to the Housing Policy Board Came From:
• Rental Owner’s Association
• Springfield-Eugene Tenant Association
• Ex-officio members of the HPB who are local affordable housing providers
The HPB renter protection recommendations include recommendations for enhanced renter protections focused on two stages of renting, the application stage and the move-in/move-out stage, along with a recommended path for funding and oversight. All the components of HPB’s recommendations are intended to work together to lower barriers to housing access, prevent discrimination, and strengthen protections to stabilize renters within the housing continuum.
In a February 21, 2017, Work Session Council received a presentation from staff about the status of rental housing in Eugene.
- Council directed staff to conduct additional research and return with more information at a future work session.
- Next steps that emerged included working with the Housing Policy Board (HPB) to conduct outreach to renters to better understand rental housing affordability, availability, access, quality, and stability.
In 2018, the Housing Policy Board formed a task team to learn more about current market conditions affecting renters, and to identify tools and strategies to protect renters and prevent displacement in areas with changing housing market conditions.
- The task team created and distributed the Renters’ Experiences Survey and held four listening sessions.
- A total of 851 surveys were completed and 112 community members participated in the listening sessions.
In February of 2019 new state legislation (SB 608/ORS 90.427) became effective and did two important things for renters:
1) prohibited most no-cause evictions after the first year of occupancy and
March 13, 2019, Work Session Council held a work session to receive the results of the Renters’ Experience Survey and listening sessions along with the status of the Eugene rental market, issues related to rental housing, and state legislation related to renter protections.
- Council directed staff to come back with more data as well as recommendations on ways to increase rental housing stability, access, and affordability.
- The HPB identified the following priorities based on the information gathered through the survey and listening sessions as well as Councilors’ questions and comments:
- Consider strategies for increasing tenant and landlord awareness of rights, responsibilities, and resources.
- Consider challenges and strategies related to application fees and processes (pet rent, security deposits/refunds, screening, housing navigators).
- Consider creation of supports (for deposits, first and last months’ rent) and explore potential programs.
- Explore options to addressing housing quality and condition concerns raised through renter survey.
- Identify priorities for rental housing data and consider strategies for compiling and analyzing data.