City of Portland Considers Screening Ordinance Loaded with Unintended Consequences

New screening criteria initiatives are coming from Portland City Hall, and if enacted would significantly alter the system by which property managers currently qualify the prospective residents in rental properties.

At face value, the proposed ordinance, put forth by the office of Commissioner Eudaly, is written to make it easier for people to find housing – a worthy goal. However, underneath the confusing bureaucratic language, this new ordinance, if enacted, would severely limit the authority of the property manager screening applicants, and could potentially pose a serious threat to the well-being of our apartment communities.

Here are some examples of offenses (among many) that under the proposed ordinance CANNOT BE GROUNDS FOR DENIAL OF OCCUPANCY by building management. These include criminal convictions older than three years from the date of sentencing, or one year from the date of release for:

  • Stalking
  • Certain Sex Offenses
  • Felony Burglary or Breaking and Entering
  • Felony Destruction of Vandalism of Property
  • Felony Assault
  • A criminal conviction older than seven years for any conviction, the date of conviction being the date of sentencing, or more than four years from the date of release, whichever is latest

The list is extensive, and you can read it for yourself at

The proposal is now in its 17th draft! – and is far more complex and difficult to interpret than any system now in place. It calls for a new “individualized assessment” which is far more administratively burdensome than the HUD requirements. Effective, fair and objective resident evaluation systems are already used by property management professionals.  Multifamily NW has expressed grave concerns on behalf of all of us to city leaders regarding the screening criteria proposal; however, they have not listened to the industry they’re so keen to reform. This proposal remains as dangerous and nonsensical as their 1st draft.

The revised criteria will force property managers and owners – very few of whom are trained in the fields of mental health, addiction medicine and law enforcement – to be clinicians and law enforcement experts. This is bad for all residents, both current and prospective.

We are providing this information to keep members fully informed of issues that directly impact the industry. Please share your concerns as Multifamily NW has with the Mayor and City Council whose contact information is below:


Mayor Ted Wheeler


Commissioner Chloe Eudaly


Commissioner Amanda Fritz


Commissioner Dan Saltzman


Commissioner Nick Fish