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Business and Economy

Portland Landlords Up In Arms Over Policy That Says They Can’t Raise Rents Until Next Year

Nora Flaherty
Maine Public/file

Portland landlords are up in arms over a policy-decision by city lawyers that an ordinance passed by referendum bars them from raising rents until the next calendar year, absent pre-approval by a new rent-control board.

That's even though property taxes for many rental properties, and for multi-units in particular, started rising sharply in July with the city's latest property revaluation.

"The fact that the city would double the taxes on some landlords and then prohibit them from increasing rent is shocking," says Brit Vitalius, president of the Southern Maine Landlord Association.

Vitalius says the ordinance is poorly-written and open to interpretation, although the association's court challenge was thrown out. One of the referendum's authors told the Portland Press Herald he believes the rent-control board should be able to enact its own blanket policy allowing for some increases this year, rather than deciding on a case-by-case basis.