Judge hears arguments in lawsuit challenging Portland housing or - KPTV - FOX 12

Judge hears arguments in lawsuit challenging Portland housing ordinance

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A judge will soon begin deliberations in a lawsuit after landlords in Portland sued the city after commissioners passed a rule that could require the property owners to pay tenants for no-cause evictions or rent increases.

Thursday morning, both sides laid out most of their arguments during a hearing that lasted around two hours.

There will be a brief follow-up hearing before the judge will issue a written ruling, something attorneys in the case tell FOX 12 will likely take a week or two.

Earlier in the morning, a small group of renters stood outside the courthouse to rally before heading inside to watch the proceedings.

Two landlords sued the city earlier this year in response to commissioners passing a temporary emergency relocation ordinance that could in some cases require landlords to give a payout to tenants who are given no-cause evictions or whose rents are increased by 10 percent or more in a year’s time.

City officials say the ordinance needed to be passed in response to the housing crisis in Portland, but the landlords argue the rule breaks state law.

They contend that the ordinance, in a roundabout way, enacts rent control, something the state of Oregon currently bans local governments from doing.

City lawyers argue that state law is unclear as to what defines “rent control” and how the rule is actually applied, also saying the city’s ordinance, as written and intended, does not break the law.

Oregon lawmakers are considering changing the state’s rent control laws. This week the state house passed HB 2004, a bill that would allow cities and counties to pass their own rent-control rules.

The bill would also severely limit no-cause evictions statewide. It now heads to the state senate.

Even if the judge upholds the city’s ordinance, commissioners made this the housing law temporary and it would expire in October unless renewed.

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