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Proposed ordinance to protect Boise renters nears debut

Boise City Hall Brick Building Logo
Lacey Daley
Boise State Public Radio

Boise City Council is close to unveiling a draft ordinance it hopes will help protect tenants who have had to deal with significant rent increases and competition in recent years.

Councilmembers are weighing how to tackle issues like retaliation from landlords and income discrimination, such as federal housing voucher recipients.

During a meeting Tuesday, Nicki Hellencamp, Mayor Lauren McLean’s housing advisor, outlined one option for relocation assistance in the case of a renter being displaced if a property is being redeveloped.

“They would at minimum have the peace of mind of knowing that they could count on the full return of their security deposit because the building is coming down,” Hellencamp said.

She said there might be limited circumstances in which money could be deducted, though.

“If somebody’s removed toilets or essentially taken things that could have been reused and that were of value, then there might be an argument to be made that the value of whatever was removed should be taken from the security deposit.”

Hellencamp said renters don’t think that option goes far enough, but cash payments or increased notice of displacement could violate state law.

One area of possible agreement between the groups is a city-hosted online information sheet outlining tenant rights and responsibilities.

Landlords would give renters a URL or QR code linking directly to the sheet when they sign their leases. It would be available in multiple languages and Hellencamp said the city may distribute physical copies at libraries or other city-owned properties for those without internet access.

Mayor McLean said she wants to hold a public hearing on the proposal when council returns from its summer break in mid-August.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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