Last week, I proposed a series of protections for Portland renters. The protections include requiring 90 days’ notice to a family before a landlord can raise their rent or evict them without cause.

The proposal also protects Portland taxpayers by preventing mass evictions that strain our social services (like we saw last winter) and ensures that low-income families are not discriminated against based on the source of their income.

While I appreciate Bill Stauffer’s thoughtful Maine Voices op-ed Monday taking issue with the proposal, his two major assertions were inaccurate.

Mr. Stauffer claimed I was proposing to limit how much a landlord could raise the rent. That is incorrect. Under my proposal, a landlord may still raise the rent as much as the market will bear, as long as the units they own don’t violate health and human safety rules and they give the tenant 90 days’ notice of the proposed increase.

He also asserted that landlords would no longer be able to do credit checks on prospective tenants. That is also incorrect. The only limitation on using credit as a factor in making rental decisions is if the tenant has a government voucher to pay the rent. Since the tenant won’t actually be paying most, if not all, of the rent, their credit history should not be a determining factor. For all other families, credit history may still be used.

Since proposing these protections, I have received dozens of positive responses from residents. Reasonable minds may disagree on the nuts and bolts of the proposal, but it is important that we debate the facts, rather than inaccurate rhetoric.

The current housing market is creating a lot of insecurity for many of our families, and I am hopeful these compassionate protections will ease some of that burden, while protecting our housing market’s ability to grow.

Ethan Strimling

mayor

Portland