Vancouver, Washington Renter Protections

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Vancouverwaskyline_004-300x225While the ordinance passed by the city of Portland on October 14 requiring 90-day notices for no cause evictions and rent increases over 5% in a 12 month period gained attention across the region, a similar ordinance enacted a month prior in Portland’s sister city Vancouver, Washington may have served as a catalyst.

The Vancouver City Council unanimously approved three ordinances on September 21 aimed to protect a low income population they term as “Vulnerable Renters.”

The first ordinance, VMC 8.45, prevents landlords from denying an application for rent based on a renter’s source of income, specifically federal and state public benefits or rent subsidies.  Oregon Landlord Tenant Law already includes this renter protection.

The remaining two ordinances address the current low vacancy rates and increasing rental rates now common in the Metro area. VMC 8.46, like the Portland ordinance, extended the prior notice period landlords must provide in order to levy a rent increase.  In Vancouver’s case they extended the time from 30 days’ notice to 45 days’ notice for an increase of 10% or more in a 12 month period.

Ordinance VMC 8.47 extended the length of prior notice a landlord must give for no-cause evictions.  Where landlords once only needed to provide 20 days’ notice, they now must provide 60 days’ notice.  Landlords owning fewer than five rental units are exempt from this ordinance, and the rules regarding for-cause evictions stay the same.

Like the Portland ordinances, these changes were designed to make it easier for low-income renters to secure new housing in this market if evicted or priced out of their current unit.  They took effect October 21, 2015.

Vancouver prior to 10/21/15 Vancouver after 10/21/15 Portland after 11/13/15
Source of income protection    No Yes Yes
Prior notice for no cause evictions    20 day notice 60 day notice with < 5 unit exemption 90 dy notice
Extended notice for rent increases over threshold    30 day notice 45 day notice 90 day notice
Threshold for extended notice    n/a 10% increase 5% increase