- Increase notification for rent increases.
This provision raises the minimum notification period for rent increases from 45 days to 75 days. It applies to both tenancies-at-will and existing leases, meaning that a landlord must provide 75 days notice of a rent increase prior to the end of an existing lease.
- For tenants-at-will, require landlord and tenant to sign a document that explains what tenancy-at-will means.
This document will be created by the City and be available online for download/printing. The document will use easily understandable language.
Signing the document indicates an understanding of the provisions of at-will-tenancies.
A copy of this signed document must be kept on file by the landlord and be available to the City upon request.
During the annual landlord registration process, landlords will be required to check a box (online or on a document) stating that this form (explanation of terms of at-will tenancy) has been signed by both tenant and landlord and that they are maintaining a copy for their records. They will not be able to complete the registration process without checking this box.
At this time, there is no fine associated with this requirement, but if it is determined that landlords are not generally complying, a fine may be established at a future time.
- Require landlords to distribute a leaflet outlining rights, responsibilities and privileges of tenants and landlords.
Links to the leaflet and expanded information will be available online for all.
The City will develop a template for a rights and responsibilities leaflet based on similar existing documents such as "The Rights of Tenants in Maine," which was developed by Pine Tree Legal.
Landlords will be asked to distribute this leaflet to tenants, and as with #2, above, they will need to check a box on their annual registration form stating that they have done so. They will not be able to complete the registration process without checking this box.
At this time no fine is being suggested with this requirement, but if it is determined that landlords are not generally complying, a fine may be established at some point in the future.
- Establish a Landlord-Tenant Committee.
The Landlord-Tenant Committee will work with City staff to collect housing market data, report annually on the state of the housing market, recommend policy changes, and report to the Council's Housing Committee.
The Committee and staff will also act as a clearinghouse for tenants and landlords connecting them to resources such as mediators, legal services, advocates, and programs related to landlord or tenant issues.
The Committee shall meet not less than quarterly.
Committee to be co-chaired by one tenant and one landlord elected from among the seven members. Three members of the committee will be Portland landlords; three members of the committee will be Portland tenants. The seventh member will be neither a landlord nor tenant but must be a resident of Portland.
- Incorporate the Maine Human Rights prohibitions against income discrimination into City ordinance.
The following language based on the Maine Human Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against tenants based on their source of income will be incorporated into City ordinance.
Language will also be included requiring a complainant to follow the process outlined in the Maine Human Rights statute.
It will be prohibited for any person furnishing rental premises or public accommodations to refuse to rent or impose different terms of tenancy to any individual who is a recipient of federal, state or local public assistance, including medical assistance and housing subsidies, primarily because of the individual's status as recipient.
Nothing in this ordinance may be construed to prohibit or limit the exercise of the privilege of every person and the agent of any person having the right to sell, rent, lease or manage a housing accommodation to set up and enforce specifications in the selling, renting, leasing or letting or in the furnishings of facilities or services in connection with the facilities that are consistent with business necessity and are not based on the receipt of public assistance payments by any prospective or actual purchaser, lessee, tenant or occupant.
Nothing in this ordinance may be construed to prohibit or limit the exercise of the privilege of every person and the agent of any person making loans for or offering financial assistance in the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, repair or maintenance of housing accommodations to set standards and preferences, terms, conditions, limitations or specifications for the granting of loans or financial assistance that are consistent with business necessity and are not based the receipt of public assistance payments by the applicant for a loan or financial assistance or of any existing or prospective owner, lessee, tenant or occupant of housing accommodation.
On November 21, 2016 the Portland City Council passed the following Housing Insecurity Package which was recommended unanimously by the Housing Committee. I voted in support of this package, and it passed the Council 9-0. Here is an outline of the package with brief explanations of each provision.
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