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To address growing housing insecurity, Bangor is considering a tenants' bill of rights

A view of apartment buildings in downtown Bangor. A recent study found that most of Bangor's short-term rentals were found downtown or immediately adjacent to downtown.
Nick McCrea
/
BDN
A view of apartment buildings in downtown Bangor. A recent study found that most of Bangor's short-term rentals were found downtown or immediately adjacent to downtown.

The city of Bangor is drafting a new tenants' bill of rights after councilors received complaints from local residents about sudden rent increases in the region.

Under a proposed ordinance that is still being revised, landlords would have to give tenants at least 60 days' notice before any rent increase. Application fees would be capped at no more than $50.

The proposal also reaffirms the state's existing laws against housing discrimination, including for renters who receive federal, state or local public assistance.

"This ordinance is really meant to address the housing insecurity, minimize potential adverse impacts of unnoticed or short-noticed rent increases, educate at-will tenants about their rights and help bring about fair, orderly procedures for residents to enjoy and retain secure housing," said Courtney O'Donnell, assistant city manager.

But landlords have expressed some concerns about the proposal, and some urged the city to address the affordable housing crisis instead through inspection and zoning changes.

Housing developer Emily Ellis worries the ordinance could drive some local landlords away from the business altogether.

"When we're asking for more money, it's because we're being charged more money to provide the housing," she told city councilors at a government operations committee meeting Monday night.

City officials say they're still collecting feedback about the proposal.

The proposal comes as the city is partnering with regional coordinators from Built for Zero, a national homelessness prevention program. The city is launching a coordinated effort, where it will develop a list of unhoused individuals in Bangor and connect them with housing and other services.