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Renter Protections Process
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).
In July 2022, City Council voted to approve an ordinance and adopted Phase I of the Renter Protections Roadmap.
Phase I of Renter Protections requires that the City provide documentation and information for tenants and landlords. Those documents can be found at eugenerentalcode.org. For more details about the Phase I ordinance and process, please see below.
On October 24, 2022 Council held a work session on Phase II of Renter Protections. Council directed staff to bring back an ordinance on Phase II for public hearing in early 2023, and Council action on Phase II would be anticipated to occur in 2023. Phase II Protections Include:
- Limit Security Deposits
- Process Applications in the Order Received
- Displacement Prevention Assistance
Additionally, Council directed staff to create a Small Landlord Compensation Fund for Displacement Prevention Assistance and require landlords to report evictions to the City.
Staff will return to Council with more information on Renter Protections Phase III in Spring 2023.
To provide comment or to sign up for the Renter Protections interested parties email list, please email email@example.com or click on "stay informed."
- Phase II Renter Protections
- Phase I Renter Protections
- Renter Protections Committee 2019-2021
- 2017 - 2019 Renter Protection Work
Phase II Protections Under Consideration Include:
- Limit Security Deposits. Limit landlords to charging a maximum of two times the monthly rent for a deposit (including security, cleaning, and last month rent deposits). Not including pet deposits.
- Process Applications in the Order Received. Require landlords to process applications first-come, first-served.
- Displacement Prevention Assistance (DPA). Require landlords to pay displacement assistance for legal no cause evictions, substantial changes in the lease, or substantial increases in the rent by the landlord.
Phase II 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 will discuss DPA again at the January 9, 2023 meeting.
- The Phase II draft ordinance will be made available for public comment and public hearing in early 2023, update coming soon.
- Council will take action on the ordinance.
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.
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 an ordinance adopting Renter Protections Phase I. Watch the July 11, 2022 session and Review the Agenda Item Summary and Council Materials.
- 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
Housing Policy Board Renter Protection Recommendations 2021
The recommendations for renter protections made by the Housing Policy Board are focused on:
1) Protecting renters and vulnerable populations and
2) Preventing displacement.
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.
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.
Rental Housing Navigator
99 W. 10th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401