#TenantTipTuesday: Relocation Ordinance

First of all – while Portland’s relocation ordinance applies strictly within city limits, we want the rest of you to pay attention because if organizers demanded it and won in Portland, you can win in your city. Let’s talk a little bit about the infamous Relocation Ordinance is and what it means for you or anyone who rents in #Portland.

Who qualifies?

Tenants in Portland who:
  • receive a no-cause eviction notice
  • receive a rent increase notice of 10% or more in one year
  • fail to have their leases renewed with similar terms

In order to qualify, all of the following must be true:

  • The renter must live within city limits of Portland – this might sound obvious but we’re drilling it home because there are addresses that appear to be in Portland but are technically part of other cities. Double check your home address on the Portland Sick Time site to see if it truly qualifies as “in Portland” if you’re unsure.
  • Your landlord can’t be living in the same home as you (i.e., if you rent a room in a house with the homeowner).
  • The landlord rents more than one housing unit in the city of Portland. This is a tricky one! Many landlords have listed their various properties under “limited liability companies” (LLC’s) to avoid accountability for the places they own. This doesn’t mean you can’t find out – but it does make it trickier. It might be helpful to use portlandmaps.com to search your address and see who actually owns your home and see if they are using an LLC. It’s a good indicator of how much more work you might need to do to get your relocation fees paid.
  • The rental agreement cannot be week-to-week.
  • The tenancy cannot be what is called a “sabbatical tenancy.” The name sounds fancy but don’t let it confuse you. Sometimes a homeowner spends a year off traveling, visiting a relative, or doing some research. If the tenant is renting the landlord’s home while he or she is gone for three years or less, that’s considered a “sabbatical tenancy” and makes the tenant ineligible for relocation fees.


So I qualify, now what?

For No-Cause Evictions, your landlord must pay you relocation fees at least 45 days before the termination date in their formal notice to you.

For rent-increases exceeding 10%, tenants must notify the landlord in writing within 45 days of receiving notice of a rent increase that they intend to terminate their rental agreement due to the rent increase. Your landlord then has to pay you within 31 days of your request.

However, if the tenant fails to give Notice of Vacate within 6 months of the rent increase going into effect, they don’t get relocation fees. So if the rising cost of rent means you’re going to leave, say something as soon as you realize that’s what it means for you!

tfw you are so done you ready to do a bite

How much do I get?

The amount of relocation fees you get relate directly to the size of your home.
  • Single Rooms and Studios: $2,900
  • 1 Bedroom: $3,300
  • 2 Bedrooms: $4,200
  • 3 Bedrooms: $4,500

Are you in a house with a bunch of other people?

Are you all on one lease or on separate leases? This makes a big difference! If you are all on one lease and only one of you can’t afford the rent hike, you might not qualify for relocation fees. If the whole house decided to leave, however, the house would in theory collectively receive a relocation fee that you could then in theory split up.

If you each have your own lease with the landlord, you have a much better chance of demanding relocation because you are your own renter with your own needs and your own terms.

My landlord doesn’t want to pay my relocation fees!

Failure to pay you your relocation fees gives you a claim for relocation feehs plus three times the rent, and court costs and fees. It costs a lot more to pay someone’s legal costs than it does to simply offer them relocation fees.

Got more questions? We’ve got more answers. Call us on the Renters’ Rights Hotline at 503.288.0130 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays 6 to 8 p.m., or message our Facebook page.