Mind Your Business: Tia's tips for better rental management -- Updated City Code Regulations for Eugene Landlords

Monday, August 01, 2022 2:05 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

Eugene Rental Code UPDATE on when the Tenants Rights handout and the Rental History forms will be available.

Please read the message below from:

Genevieve MiddletonCommunity Development Grants Manager
City of Eugene | Planning & Development

"On July 11, 2022, City Council adopted Ordinance 20670, which will go into effect on August 13, 2022. Since City Council adopted the ordinance, staff have been updating associated Administrative Rules to comply with the new ordinance. These rules will provide additional information, such as how to photo document dwellings. All associated documents will be finalized once the administrative rules are updated. Staff anticipates this will happen in September 2022. Until that time, City of Eugene staff will not be enforcing the new policies outlined in the ordinance."

Please scroll down to view the article written by Tia Politi on the Updated Rental Code.

Mind Your Business: Tia's tips for better rental management -- Updated City Code Regulations for Eugene Landlords

By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
Date: 08/01/2022

Beginning August 13, 2022, the Ordinance enacts the following restrictions:

Security deposits and deposit accounting

  • Prior to a new tenancy beginning, the owner/agent must provide the tenant with documentation of the condition of the rental home and receive written confirmation that the tenant has received and reviewed the documentation.
    • The documentation must include photos and a written report. The Unit Condition Report (formerly the Check-In/Check-Out Report) should satisfy the written report requirements.

(No word on what will happen if the tenant refuses to sign, so Eugene landlords are advised to document any refusals in writing.)

  • At the time of deposit accounting the owner/agent must provide not only the written accounting of charges against the deposit, but also provide documentation on the condition of the rental home and a written statement describing the condition or damage the landlord believes justifies the charges. This documentation must include:
    • Photo documentation showing the condition of the rental home, including any appliances provided for use by the tenant.
    • A written statement describing the condition of the rental home, including appliances, and noting any damage.
Rental references
  • Up to twice per calendar year and within five (5) business days of receiving a written request by the tenant, the owner/agent shall provide a rental reference utilizing a form approved by the city manager (in development).
Lease up
  • At the time of lease-up, the owner/agent must provide to the tenant a Tenant’s Rights Notification. This form will include information regarding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants regarding tenancy termination as well as information about the requirements of the Eugene Rental Housing Code utilizing a form approved by the city manager which is in development. (We’ll send another eblast when the forms are complete.)
Screening fees
  • A landlord may not charge more than $10 per applicant for tenant screening. The ordinance reads, “The amount of any applicant screening charge may not exceed the amount of an applicant screening charge allowed by ORS 90.295 or $10, whichever is less.” Because there is no way any screening would cost less than $10, that’s all owners or agents can charge.
Tenant complaint process and qualifications
  • The city is amending their Complaint process to allow a tenant to file a complaint for violations regarding these changes as well as maintenance issues. A person who files a complaint must be:
  • A party to the current rental agreement, or an agent of the party, and if the violation is related to payment of a screening charge higher than $10, the tenant must have paid the screening charge, or their agent must have paid the charge.
  • To file a complaint, the tenant must first send a written notice of the alleged violation to the owner/agent and provide a copy of that written notice at the time the complaint is filed. (The description of ‘written notice’ does mention ‘mailing’ in 8.430(d)(2) but does not address whether this timeline will correspond to the timelines for service of notice in ORS 90.155, requiring the addition of 3 days to account for mailing time, or whether the tenant may post-and-mail if allowed by the written rental agreement.) The city manager is then authorized to investigate the complaint.
  1. For complaints related to lack of essential services, the complaint may be filed no sooner than 48 hours after providing the written notice to the owner/agent.
  2. For complaints not related to the lack of essential services, the complaint may be filed no sooner than 10 days after providing the written notice to the landlord.
City process for substantiated complaints
  • If the city manager determines that a complaint is valid, they will issue a notice to the owner/agent providing a timeline for compliance:
  • For non-habitability-related maintenance issues, not including lack of essential services, 10 days to remedy the violation, including any needed repairs, unless the repairs cannot be completed with 10 days. If that is the case, the landlord must submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city within 10 days.
  • For habitability complaints regarding a lack of essential services, 48 hours, unless the repairs cannot be completed within 48 hours. If that is the case, the landlord must submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city within 48 hours.

Complaint process outline requires that the city confirm the following

  1. Confirm that the complainant has standing to file a complaint.
  2. Confirm that the subject of the complaint could be a violation of the code.
  3. Except for complaints related to screening overcharge or lack of essential services, confirm that the owner/agent has had 10 days since mailing of the written notice by the tenant to respond to the complaint.
  4. For complaints regarding violations of the screening charge limit or lack of essential services, confirm that the owner/agent has had 48 hours from the time the tenant provided written notice to respond to the complaint, and
  5. Provide notice to the owner/agent of the complaint per written procedures.
Landlord noncompliance with city order to correct
  • If the city manager finds that a complaint was valid and the landlord did not respond timely as required, the manager may issue an administrative civil penalty, initiate a prosecution in municipal court, and initiate action to recover all city costs associated with the processing of the complaint, investigation, and resolution of the issue.
  • This information will be sent to the owner/agent along with deadline for repair and re-inspection of the dwelling unit, and a statement that they may appeal the notice and order.
Funding to provide tenant support services
  • To fund enforcement of these new requirements, as well as the new city allowance of Tenant Support Services, the city manager has been empowered by the Ordinance to increase the city’s door tax.
    • Tenant Support Services includes but is not limited to supporting a tenant hotline, eviction diversion, support for ex-offenders and other individuals with similar challenges who are struggling to qualify for rental housing, and support for tenants seeking rental housing that is accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
    • Additionally, Eugene Code 8.440(2) is amended to allow the increased funding to pay for a Rental Housing Navigator position within city government and fund data collection about rental housing in Eugene.

This outlines the basic parameters of Phase One. Additional phases to follow. There are still rules to be developed by the city manager to render interpretations of the ordinance and address procedures more specifically for processing complaints.

Phase Two Recommendations include
  • Limiting deposits (including security deposit, last month’s rent deposit, or other designated deposits, but not pet deposits) to a maximum of twice the monthly rent.
  • Require that applications be processed in the order received
  • Landlord payment of relocation expenses for issuing no-cause or qualifying landlord reason termination notices.
 Phase Three Recommendations include:
  • Prohibit screening out applicants for credit defaults related to medical or education debt, and limit screening for minimum credit score.
  • Loosen minimum monthly gross income screening standards to no greater than twice the monthly rent.
  • Enact moratorium on no-cause terminations of tenancy unless landlord pays relocation fee.

This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

Rev 7/2022

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The Oregon Rental Housing Association (ORHA) is a non-profit educational landlord association -- ORHA Board Members, Mentors, Staff, and/or other related ORHA affiliates do not give legal advice. Please be advised that any information provided  is no substitute for professional legal counsel and any advice or guidance given does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice related to your specific situation.

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