Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Portland's Low Vacancy Rates the Biggest Threat to Renters

Portland for Everyone recently reported on Portland's new ordinance requiring landlords to pay relocation costs after no-cause evictions or rent increases greater than 10%. They argue that this ordinance could cause additional problems for renters due to the lack of housing supply in Portland.

Their fears are echoed by an unlikely ally: Portland Tenant United's Margot Black. Black argues that low vacancy rates mean landlords can afford to be more selective, and penalties for no-cause evictions could make it even harder for low-income tenants to find housing.

"Supply is also the answer" to the housing crisis, says Black. Portland's vacancy rate has been below the national average since 1986, with the exception of a brief period in 2004. At the same time, Multnomah County has not built enough units to keep up with population growth.

HFO is pleased to see that Margot understands the importance of increasing supply, and hopes that tenant groups and governmental bodies will do more to encourage development of affordable housing.

 Read more.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Landlords Lose Request for Temporary Restraining Order Against City of Portland

Federal Judge Michael Simon of the U.S. District Court of Oregon denied a petition for stay of the City of Portland relocation assistance ordinance yesterday, saying it was "too late" as the ordinance had already taken effect. The case was remanded to State Court where the statewide pre-emption on rent control will be the key argument. A hearing is expected sometime before the end of April.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Multifamily Development Pipeline Dries Up In Response to New City Zoning Requirements

The Daily Journal of Commerce [subscription required] reports that Portland architectural firms are now running completely out of design work for multifamily projects.

According to local developers and architects, the development pipeline is drying up in response to City of Portland Inclusionary Zoning requirements that took effect February 1st. Although the 14,000 units currently in the pipeline will keep developers and construction crews busy for the next couple of years, any additional activity may come to a screeching halt as developers say the regulations mean their projects simply cannot pencil out.

Stay tuned.

Author of "Evicted": For Designing Policy, "Landlords Have to Be at That Table"

The Oregonian published an interview with Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. His book was chosen by the director of the Multnomah County Library for this year's Everybody Reads Program. Desmond emphasizes that landlord-tenant relationships are often complex, and that "it's not just as simple as antagonism all the time." He believes landlords' concerns have to be taken into account in order to find the best solutions. Desmond also argues that a large-scale expansion of the voucher system would be the most efficient way to help families that qualify for assistance. Read more.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Portland Tenant United Founder: "Homegrown Oregon Landlords Tend to be White and Racist"

Landlords were described as White Racists yesterday morning on KATU's "Your Voice Your Vote" on Sunday, February 12th, by Portland Tenant United founder Margo Black. Click here to watch.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Affordable Housing Data Will Not Be Available in Time for Legislative Session

After being called out in an audit in December, the Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) agency has stated they will not be able to complete a statewide affordable housing inventory until after the 2017 legislative session has ended. Lawmakers will have to rely instead on data from the Oregon Housing Alliance, which has compiled a list of federal affordable housing contracts set to expire. While OHCS has compiled a list of both federal and state-backed housing units, it has yet to complete research on expiration dates for these units. Read more.