The Bend Council knows the community has an affordable housing problem, and it has worked hard to help correct the situation. Sometimes the results have been good, sometimes less so. Put some of the nuttier ideas to come out of the Portland City Council — including the city’s 90-day eviction notice ordinance — fall into that last category. That’s why we hope the Bend body ignores the latest set of suggestions to come from the state’s largest city.
Portland City Councilor Chloe Eudaly wants her fellows on that body to consider adopting a list of proposals that would make any self-respecting landlord think twice about staying in business.
• Landlords would be barred from requiring a potential tenant’s Social Security number.
• They would be required to consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, with documentation to prove their list of applicants is in correct order.
• They could not require would-be tenants to have more income, including utilities, money from cosigners and so on, than double the advertised rent.
• A landlord could not refuse to rent to someone without conducting an individualized assessment that demonstrates the landlord is not discriminating. A copy of the assessment would be given to the would-be tenant. Criminal convictions could be considered, but they couldn’t be grounds for denial except in specific circumstances.
• Use of an applicant’s credit history would be limited, as would use of rental and eviction history.
And so on.
No doubt some landlords take advantage of a tight rental market by using the rental application itself as a means of choosing only those mostly likely to meet their definition of a “good” tenant.
Not all landlords operate that way, however, and when the rental housing shortage eases and tenants can pick and choose, the worst landlords no doubt will be punished with vacancies.
That should be enough. No city, not Portland and certainly not Bend, should eviscerate the decision-making power away of business owners.