Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Effect of Immigrants and Immigration on Apartment Rentals in Oregon and Across the Nation

This week's Sandy Post carried an article revealing that since February, the number of Latino immigrants taking driving tests at Oregon DMV's have plummeted; the likely result of a new law requiring more proof of identification to get a driver's license.

It's estimated that Oregon has between 120,000 and 170,000 undocumented workers. Recently, the Apartment Manager Newsletter carried an article arguing that this new law, which will have its largest impact between 2011 and 2014, may result in the loss of rent for 30,000 Oregon apartment units.

On the national level, some cities and states have gone as far as enacting legislation fining landlords for housing undocumented immigrants. Multifamily Executive magazine discussed some of these issues in a recent article called The Immigrant Experience. The article covers the national debate about the effect of the Hispanic immigrant demographic on rental housing. Among other things, the article states: (a) illegal immigrants will become a larger percentage of renters as 102.6 million immigrants are expected to arrive between now and 2050; (b) new state document requirements will adversely affect operations; and (c) immigrants can sometimes become a target for crime because they deal largely in cash.

Some believe Oregon's legislation may encourage undocumented workers to go home or to other states. For example, when Arizona and Oklahoma enacted tougher laws regarding immigrants, many of them simply moved to Texas.