Monday, December 30, 2019

Eudaly Won't Support Residential Infill without Added Tenant Protections

The Willamette Week reports that Commissioner Chloe Eudaly will not support the Residential Infill Project (RIP) without additional tenant protections. RIP would allow up to four units to be built on single family lots (or 6 when affordable housing is included). Eudaly is pushing the city council to pass a law giving tenants the opportunity to purchase a property, or exercise first right of refusal. She is also calling for the city to allocate funding to finance ADUs. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 30, 2019

A round-up of the affordable housing positions of some of the US Democratic Presidential candidates is featured.



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Monday, December 23, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 23, 2019

Three landlord members of Portland's Rental Services Commission quit due to renter advocate's hostility; Washington State Legislature likely to consider more tenant protections in 2020; the U.S. Supreme Court decides it's ok for the homeless to sleep outside when there are not enough shelter beds available.



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Friday, December 20, 2019

Survey: Portland Renters Face Discrimination when Applying for Housing

Nonprofit organization Fair Housing Council of Oregon conducted a study using actors posing as prospective tenants between January 2018 and June 2019, and found that in 26 out of 94 test cases, potential renters received disparate treatment due to race, nationality, or income source. Despite laws in Oregon outlawing income source discrimination, Section 8 voucher holders were told their vouchers would not be accepted, or were required to pay higher security deposits than prospective renters without vouchers. Similarly, Black renters were not told about the same promotions as white renters, who were offered bigger discounts. The nonprofit recommends providing landlords with more training to ensure renters are treated equally. Read more.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

When Scammers Pose as Landlords, Things Go Sideways

A woman who thought she had rented a home in North Bethany in Washington County was scammed out of $3,000 and told by police she was trespassing after using a service called Rently. KATU reports.

Multifamily NW, Tenant Landlord Attorney Leah Sykes Resign from City's Rental Services Commission

Multifamily NW Executive Director Deborah Imse and landlord attorney Leah Sykes of the Greenspoon Marder firm have resigned from the City of Portland's Rental Services Commission. In her resignation letter, Imse called for Syke's treatment by renter advocate Margot Black at the group's November 19th meeting to be formally reviewed. Read more. 

Tenant Advocates Prep for Next Push in Washington Legislature

The Bellevue Reporter quotes legislator Patty Kuderer as declaring at least two bills will be filed this year in Olympia surrounding tenant protections. Those would include a just cause law standardizing criteria for evictions statewide, and a second bill making technical changes to SB 5600 and the ways in which landlords can be reimbursed by the state for tenants who fail to pay rent. Read more.

UN Climate Report: End Apartment Bans to Save the Planet

Local bans on attached homes in cities are driving up energy use and helping cook the climate, the United Nations Environment Program wrote in a report published November 26th.

According to the sightline institute in its review of key report findings, millions of Americans would happily reduce their own carbon emissions by living smaller and closer in, with nicely insulated new windows and nice thick walls, if only local zoning allowed it.

Washington Legislature Could Consider Lifting Rent Control Ban, Eliminating No Cause Evictions in 2020

A number of Washington legislators are working on plans to improve tenant protections across the state. Representative Nicole Macri is prioritizing a bill to eliminate no-cause evictions, but believes there is "energy" in the legislature that could allow them to pass anti-gouging legislation that would cap rents at 5-7% plus inflation. In Washington, landlord can issue no cause evictions with just 20 days' notice, though in some cities like Seattle, Burien, and Federal Way there are additional renter protections. Along with Macri, Representative Frank Chopp has signaled his support for lifting the ban on rent control, but Senator Patty Kuderer believes the state should wait and see the impacts of rent control in California, New York, and Oregon. Read more.

Better Housing by Design Approved by Portland City Council

Better Housing by Design was approved Wednesday with a 3-1 vote by the Portland City Council. Commissioner Fish was absent due to health issues, and Commissioner Fritz cast the lone vote against adopting the guidelines. Better Housing by Design changes design standards for multifamily housing to allow for a broader range of unit types. It also strengthens standards for green spaces and reduces parking requirements. Additional details about the project can be found here.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Boise Case on Prosecution for Homeless Camping

The Supreme Court declined on Monday morning to hear an appeal brought by the city of Boise over a decision by the 9th Circuit that struck down a law against homeless camping. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that Boise's law amounted to cruel and unusual punishment because the city does not have enough beds to serve its homeless population. Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer had urged the Supreme Court to hear the case in order to provide clarity to city officials. Feuer believes that the 9th Circuit's ruling leaves a grey area for law enforcement when a homeless resident refuses to move off of the street and into a shelter when a bed is available. Because the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, the 9th Circuit's ruling will stand. Read more.

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 16, 2019

A Seattle City Council member proposes a ban on residential evictions during winter months; a recently built mixed-use development designed by the City of Portland faces increasing criticism as storefronts remain empty two years after opening, and a state of Oregon poll finds that residents believe their financial prospects will continue to improve.



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Friday, December 13, 2019

Portland Narrows Definition of "Retailer" for Clean Energy Tax

The Portland City Council voted to narrow the definition of "retailer" as it pertains to the city's Clean Energy tax. Mayor Wheeler and the three commissioners present at the meeting  voted to exempt construction companies, residential garbage services, and some retirement plans from having to pay the 1% surcharge on annual sales. Commissioner Nick Fish was absent. The city has lowered its revenue expectation by $10 million due to the code change. Read more.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Cascadia Region Has Too Many Large Housing Units

According to the Sightline Institute, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia have significantly more homes with at least three bedrooms than there are families with three or more people. While recently cities have focused on building family-sized units due to a perceived oversupply of studios and one-bedrooms, homes in major metro areas may still be trending too large. In Portland, 49% of homes have at least three bedrooms, but only 34% of households have three or more residents. In Seattle, 38% of homes have at least three bedrooms while only 26% of households have at least three residents. Michael Anderson argues that this mismatch can be attributed to zoning laws that restrict where smaller homes can be built, making it difficult for households to downsize. While newer construction does tend to consist of smaller units, it appears that may be due to demand from smaller households. One- to two-person households account for 59% of the Portland area's housing growth since 2005. Anderson argues that addressing the oversupply of large homes will help free up some of those homes for larger families that do need them, but have been priced out. Read more.

New Oregon Law on Applicant Screening Fees Takes Effect January 1, 2020

Multifamily NW, the law firm of Greenspoon Marder and HFO Investment Real Estate would like to remind owners of multifamily properties in Oregon of the following new law, effective January 1, 2020. 

Beginning January 1, 2020, there are changes to Oregon Revised Statutes 90.295 relating to charging applicant screening fees.

The law now states: “A landlord may only require an applicant to pay a single applicant screening charge within any 60 day period, regardless of the number of rental units owned or managed by the landlord for which the applicant has applied to rent.”

Although this may be simple for landlords using only one set of screening criteria for all of their properties, it is much more complex for landlords with multiple screening criteria, especially when managing affordable housing. It also poses challenges for larger landlords managing many portfolios with applicants submitting applications at multiple sites. In those instances, we advise a company-wide system to allow for monitoring applications from various sources.

Additionally, rules governing screening charge refunds were clarified and are consistent with general industry practices. Landlords must refund applicant screening charges within a “reasonable time” if the landlord fills the vacant unit before screening the applicant or doesn’t screen the applicant. Landlords utilizing waitlists should refrain from processing screening charges until the applicant is the next available person on the waitlist.

Damages for failure to comply with this section are twice the amount paid by the applicant, plus $150. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please make sure you speak to an attorney to stay in compliance with this regulation.


Study: Rent Control Will Restrict Apartment Development, Resulting in Lower Tax Revenue for Cities

Recent findings by the National Apartment Association (NAA) reveal rent control’s potential effects on four major U.S. cities, including Portland and Seattle.

NAA’s analysis shows that these policies decrease the housing supply, harm the condition of existing housing stock and lower property values, which leads to lower tax revenues. These policies ultimately limit job growth and negatively affect local economies.

Read the summary.

Read and download the full 9-page report.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant proposes ban on residential evictions during winter

The Seattle Times reports that the councilmember's legislation would prohibit evictions from November 1 through March 31, regardless of the circumstances. She plans to bring her proposed city ordinance to the full council by the end of January, 2020. Read more. 

Olympia Landlords Say Proposed Renter Protections May Increase Rents

Landlords in Olympia and surrounding areas of Thurston County are complaining about the impacts of proposed changes to landlord/tenant laws by local governments. Read more.  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Multifamily Marketwatch Podcast - December 9, 2019

This week: Portland developers could be required to provide public space with room for tents under new design guidelines; a 13-year-old 100-unit apartment building owned by the City of Portland evacuated 22 tenants fearing potential roof collapse, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently visited the Emerald City for a special report on homelessness.



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Friday, December 6, 2019

PSC Narrowly Votes to Require Developers Build Space for Tents in New Design Guidelines

The Willamette Week reports that a narrow majority of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission voted to approve a last-minute amendment to new design guidelines. The amendment changes language around outdoor space requirements for new developments – in addition to providing “opportunities to pause, sit and interact,” if the new guidelines are adopted developers will also be required to provide space where people can “rest and be welcome.” The change was proposed by Commissioner Oriana Magnera, who argued that there are people who need to rest on a “longer-term scale,” and that the benches provided by many developers outside of their buildings are not adequate for people who need or want to pitch a tent. The commission voted 5-4 to adopt the new language. The Commission plans to send its recommendations to the Design Commission December 17th – the Design Commission will then vote on a final set of recommendations that will be sent to the City Council. Read more.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Multifamily Development Trends in Portland, Oregon with HFO Senior Broker Lee Fehrenbacher

HFO Senior Broker Lee Fehrenbacher talks with partner Greg Frick about current trends in apartment development and construction. Lee focuses on the sales of new multifamily assets along with development parcels.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Entire Floor of Tenants Forced to Relocate from City-Owned Apartment Building

Officials from the City of Portland instructed all 4th floor tenants at the Headwaters Apartment on SW 30th Avenue to vacate their units by Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, due to a deteriorating and leaky roof. Headwaters is an affordable housing complex built in 2007. The city has offered to pay for hotel rooms for residents until they are able to find housing - officials estimate that the residents will not be able to move back into their units for up to 11 months. While the KOIN 6 report on the evictions suggests that the city has offered to pay moving costs, the building is exempt from the city's relocation fee ordinance because it is certified low income housing. Read more.

Special Edition Marketwatch Podcast December 2, 2019

Portland, Oregon's robust 2019 economy and the forecast for 2020 is discussed in this podcast with local expert Christian Kaylor of the Oregon Employment Department. 



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