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Bangor Daily News:
Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling is proposing a series of regulations he hopes will better protect renters — but some legal experts, including the city’s own corporate counsel, have concerns about whether some of them would stand a constitutional test and be enforceable.
In the proposal, released ahead of tonight’s Housing Committee meeting, the city would limit how often a landlord can raise rents. It also would mandate initial lease terms of one year in order to curb the prevalence of at-will tenancy — a rental arrangement that enabled a landlord to simultaneously kick 20 low-income tenants out of a Grant Street apartment building last winter. Strimling also wants to block landlords from discriminating against those paying through housing vouchers and limit the number of tenants the landlord can evict for “no cause” in a given year to between 25 and 40 percent of those in a building, depending on its size.
Strimling’s proposal also would bar landlords from increasing rent in the first year of a lease or if any building the landlord owns has been cited for a violation of housing safety laws. It also would require 90 days notice of a rent increase, up from the state requirement of 45.