PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The head of Portland’s Rental Housing Alliance doesn’t mince words when it comes to rules proposed by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. 

“The whole nature of the screening guidelines for any landlord is to screen for their communities,” Ron Garcia said, “and the people who should really be outraged are the tenants.”

Ron Garcia with the Rental Housing Alliance, September 14, 2018 (KOIN)

The new screening of prospective tenants — expected to be voted on later this month — will make it more difficult for a landlord to reject someone based on their criminal background, credit or other financial history.

Eudaly’s plan, though is supposed to make it easier for people to rent an apartment or home.

Renter advocates say it’s time to allow more people access to housing, even those who have a criminal record.

“They’ve served their time and surely are better off in secure housing than housing insecure and homeless,” Margot Black with Portland Tenants United. “They will become our neighbors in homeless camps if they’re not going to become our neighbors next door.”

A landlord could still deny someone a rental but would have to issue a written letter detailing the reasons.

Margot Black with Portland Tenants United, September 14, 2018 (KOIN)

“If they’re trying to work on a housing crisis or stabilize neighborhoods or keep affordable housing, this thing is going to backfire,” Garcia said.

The proposed new rules would also lower the bar for getting into a rental. Landlords could only require tenants to have an income twice their monthly rent. Currently, renters are often required to have an income 2.5 to 3 times their rent.

Though a vote is on the City Council’s agenda, the proposed rules remain a work in progress.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this issue.