06 Mar Challenges in being a Portland landlord (Letter to the editor)
I am a third-generation Oregonian who has provided housing to those in the Portland area for over 30 years. I also rented apartments in my youth and have worked for various property management companies and property owners since. I think I have a good handle on being a landlord in Portland.
Apartment rents have flattened after a cycle of rising rents. Vacancies are rising mainly in the urban core, in part because of heavy new construction. Currently there are over 10,300 units under construction, with 25,600 more proposed. When these apartments hit the market, the vacancy rate will adjust upward, meaning more vacancies, which will affect rent rates even more.
Restrictions make it hard for us to do our jobs. Rent control will restrict the ability to replace roofs, update plumbing and electrical systems … things the city of Portland seems unable to do with its public schools. Rent control will make it difficult to pay ever-increasing property taxes (this year mine came in about $70,000), insurance, power and water/sewer rates. We also have to pay for tenant damage, which usually is not recovered beyond the deposit held. And we have other catastrophes to deal with, which includes fire and flooding.
Restrictions also have a negative effect of making it harder for tenants on the fringe to find a place to live. How? Criteria is tightened, deposit amounts are raised. Landlords do not want to rent to someone who could potentially cause extensive and expensive damage or violate their lease. If a landlord’s hands are tied more and more, the Police Bureau is called upon more and more, creating even more expense for our city.
Landlords are carrying the burden of the city’s inability to find solutions to house the homeless and to rovide enough affordable housing for low-income residents.
Kim Yeager, Milwaukie
Courtesy of Oregonlive.com/The Oregonian