On July 23rd, 2023, the Eugene City Council passed City Ordinance 20694. This new city ordinance, effective August 25, is the second phase of the three-part “Renter Protections” Process currently being implemented in Eugene.

This new city ordinance institutes the following:

  • Limits Security Deposits to a maximum of two times the rent amount, except in certain circumstances;
  • Mandates processing applications in the order received;
  • Mandates relocation assistance for legal no-cause evictions, and vacancy triggered by a rent increase of the maximum allowed by state law, or for a non-renewal of the lease; and,
  • Institutes Eviction Reporting.

The Ordinance itself is a fourteen-page document that does its best to pin landlords against the wall. Each of these four headings has multiple sub-headings, exceptions, and rules, making it extremely difficult to conclude the true implications of this step. Here is a condensed breakdown of each of the headings.

Limited Security Deposits: 

Security deposits are now limited to a maximum of two times the monthly rent, except when:

  1. The landlord rents the unit to an applicant that did not meet the screening criteria for income, credit, criminal, or previous evictions, as allowed by Oregon Landlord Tenant Law; or,
  2. If after the first year of occupancy, the landlord and tenant agree to alter the lease and the increased deposit is related to that change (i.e. adding a new tenant to the lease).

Under these circumstances, the landlord can raise the security deposit to an additional amount equal to one month’s rent.

No landlord raises the deposit unless the applicant did not meet the screening criteria. This rule is nearly useless and will have almost no impact on how properties within the limits of the city of Eugene are managed.

Mandated Application Process in First-Come Order:

As of the end of next week, it will be mandated that landlords and property managers must process applications in the order they are received. The majority of landlords already do so, rendering the effect of this rule also nearly negligible. Empire does not process on a First-Come basis and our procedures will be altered to accommodate this change.

Relocation Assistance:

This step is the most egregious of the entire ordinance. Starting August 25th, landlords will be required to pay the tenant two months’ current rent as relocation assistance for the following:

  • Legal No-Cause Evictions, including End of Tenancy notices issued within the first year;
  • Rent Increase of the maximum allowed by state law when the tenant requests relocation assistance because they cannot afford the increased rate;
  • A qualifying landlord-based reason for termination:
    • The landlord intends to demolish a unit or use it for a purpose that is not a residence;
    • The landlord intends to renovate the unit;
    • The landlord intends to take over residence of the unit; or,
    • The landlord has sold the unit to someone who plans to take over residence of the unit.
  • Non-renewal of a lease.
Institutes Eviction Reporting:

Other parts of the ordinance are aggravating, but this one is confusing. Landlords are now required to report all termination notices to the city when they result in termination of tenancy. Evicted tenants can file a complaint in case of a landlord failing to do so.

That seems straightforward- only, it has not been said yet how we will report the termination notices to the city. The lack of specification is a definite irritation. Empire is seeking clarification on this point.

In conclusion:

The relocation assistance is certainly the bitter part of this pill. The rest of it, while sometimes providing a little bit of extra paperwork, is nothing more than a mild irritation.

If you would like more information on this city ordinance, reach out and we would be happy to speak with you. As always, Happy Landlording!