Portland tenant relocation lawsuit heads to federal court

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A lawsuit filed by two landlords claiming the city's new ordinance requiring landlords to pay for tenants' relocation costs following no-cause evictions or high rent increases is heading to federal court.

The ordinance requires landlords to pay between $2,900 to $4,500 to tenants evicted without cause, or those whose rent rises by more than 10 percent each year. It was penned by the city's newest councilwoman, Chloe Eudaly.

The lawsuit was filed earlier this week on behalf of Phillip E. Owen and Michael Feves in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The pair claim the ordinance effectively creates rent control, imposes "significant" financial burdens on landlords, and violates leasing contract law.

“The landlord community is taking this case very seriously,” lawyer John DiLorenzo said. “We believe this ordinance is wrong. The city didn't follow rules, statutes or the Constitution, and the Federal Court is the best place for this decision."

During a hearing at Multnomah County Circuit Court earlier this week, a Federal Court determined oral arguments are set for Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.

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