Monday, November 24, 2008

City of Portland Approves Sweeping Revisions of Landlord Tenant Regulations

City of Portland staff report that the Portland City Council Council voted last week to accept the Quality Rental Housing Workgroup (QRHW) recommendations. All four Commissioners were present during the voting, and made a commitment to fund the group's recommendations.

The City of Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development will report back to the City Council with its implementation plan by January 31, 2009.  This plan will include specific details regarding the phasing and budget of segments of the numerous recommendations.  Among other things, this plan will make a final recommendation on implementation of an annual per unit fee.

Meanwhile, many landlords may not be aware that it has always been mandatory for every business in Portland to get a business license. (The workgroup made no change to this requirement.)  And the City of Portland has decided to increase enforcement of that requirement.  A landlord with 9 or fewer units in the past qualified for an exemption from paying the $100 minimum tax and from filing a tax return. All landlords that conduct business by renting even one unit has always been required to get a business license.

The $50,000 minimum revenue exemption (which again exempts the $100 minimum tax, but not the requirement to get a business license) still applies, meaning that any landlord with revenue of less than $50,000 per year, will still qualify for a revenue exemption. Landlords with fewer than 5-6 units -- if it is their only business activity -- are going to still be exempt --  ($50,000=$720 ave. rent per month).