Legislature bans landlords from using prior marijuana convictions to reject renters

A display at Mountain View Naturals, a retail marijuana shop in Hood River on March 14, 2016.


The Oregon Legislature has approved a bill that would bar landlords from holding minor marijuana convictions or medical marijuana use against prospective tenants.

The bulk of Senate Bill 970 prohibits the owners of manufactured home parks or marinas from interfering with a resident’s choice of real estate agent or subletting the unit while it’s up for sale in certain cases. But the marijuana provisions apply to all rentals across the state.

The bill passed with little discussion in either chamber. After winning approval in the House last week, it next heads to Gov. Kate Brown’s desk for signing.

State law already specifies that landlords may only consider criminal convictions only if they will negatively affect the rental property or others living there.

Rental Housing Alliance Oregon, a statewide landlords group, opposed the marijuana provisions of the bill, saying it singled out landlords while exempting other types of background checks, such as for employment.

“Asking the landlord, who must make decisions impacting an entire community of people, to ignore convictions others can consider is wrong and something we urge you not to do,” Ron Garcia, the group’s legislative chair, wrote in a letter to the Senate Housing Committee.

Senate Bill 420, which would allow Oregonians to set aside convictions for marijuana offenses that are no longer crimes, is headed for a final vote in the House this week.

Members of the Portland City Council are also taking aim at rental screening criteria. The council is weighing an ordinance that would push landlords to be more forgiving of previous convictions or poor credit.

Read more from the source: OregonLive.com

Photo Credit Beth Nakamura/OregonLive Staff

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