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Portland rent control changes may be headed to voters

Nora Flaherty
Maine Public/file

A citizens initiative that would eliminate one part of a rent control cap that Portland voters adopted last fall has received enough signatures to appear on an upcoming city ballot.

The proposal, brought forth the Rental Housing Alliance, would allow landlords to raise rent by an unlimited amount if a tenant moves or an apartment changes hands. It removes the five-percent cap on rent increases that's currently in place for voluntary turnovers.

The landlords group submitted 4,013 signatures to city officials. Portland's city clerk said 3,087 of them have been verified, more than twice the number of signatures needed to send the proposal to voters.

The rest of the current rent control ordinance, which includes a 90-day notice period of any rent increase, would remain in place.

The Portland City Council can send the measure to voters, adopt it outright or send a competing proposal to the ballot.