Renter Protections Process

City Council Process to Review and Potentially Update Renter Protections in the City of Eugene 


The City of Eugene has engaged in a process to review and potentially update renter protections. The City’s Housing Policy Board provided recommended updates in 2021, and City Council held work sessions in November 2021 and March 2022 to review potential updates. Renter protections are broadly defined.  They can 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).


On March 16, 2022, City Council directed the City Manager to schedule a public hearing prior to Council's summer break.  This public hearing will include the protections included in Phase I of the  Renter Protections Roadmap to which they added capping application and screening fees at $10.  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 Session and  Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials.  


Proposed 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. 

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 (ADDED BY COUNCIL on 3.16.22) Require landlords to charge no more than a set application and screening fee to potential tenants 

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.  


The recommendations for renter protections made by the Housing Policy Board are focused on: 

1) Protecting renters and vulnerable populations and

2) Preventing displacement. 


Housing Policy Board Recommendation to City Council on Renter Protections

Housing Policy Board Renter Protection Recommendations 2021


August  2,  2021: Housing Policy Board (HPB)  received  reports  from  the  Renter Protections Committee and  started  to  draft its  own  renter  protection recommendations for  Council’s  consideration.   


HPB met weekly for four weeks (September 13th, 20th, 27th, and October 4th) to discuss and finalize its recommendations. 


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.


History

  1. 2017 Council Work Session
  2. 2018 HPB Task Team
  3. 2019 Council Work Session
  4. Renter Protections Committee 2019-2021

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.