By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
Hooray! We’re finally through what we hope will be the last of the pandemic-related restrictions on landlords. For more than two years, we have been pummeled with an ever-changing overlay of extreme provisions that were designed to keep renters in their homes but created an expensive nightmare for many landlords. Remember, though, that while tenants cannot stop a nonpayment of rent eviction by showing application for rent assistance, you must still include the IMPORTANT NOTICE in any termination notice for nonpayment through September 30, 2022. Landlords are also still required to use 10- or 13-day notices for nonpayment through September 30, 2022.
The silver lining of the pandemic for housing providers was the inability of radical tenant advocates to enact their over-the-top agenda for exacerbating the housing crisis. Of course, they don’t see it that way. From their perspective the reason for the housing crisis lies at the feet of ‘bad’ landlords (the minority of landlords); therefore, all their ideas involve ‘solutions’ that make it harder for us (the largest group of small business owners in the state) to remove ‘bad’ tenants (the minority of tenants) who violate their agreements.
And what is next in store? Great news for attorneys - let’s provide free legal representation to tenants in eviction court. Members of the Eviction Representation for All campaign began collecting signatures this week and hope to get the measure on November’s ballot. It would impose a 0.75% capital gains tax on residents and is estimated to generate an average of $15 million a year. The measure would guarantee tenants a right to a lawyer if they’re evicted, as well as impose stronger protections for tenants throughout the courts process. It would allow tenants to apply for grants to get smaller amounts of rent paid while they wait for rent assistance to kick in, or to get landlord fees paid off if they get evicted.
And these supposedly smart people wonder why there’s less and less housing…because many folks are getting out of the business or selling their rentals in Oregon and buying in more reasonable states like Arizona, Idaho, Florida, and Texas. The Office of Economic Analysis put out a statistic that 23 of Oregon's 36 counties are in the 300 worst counties for affordability in the entire country – not surprising.
But instead of acknowledging that increasing restrictions contribute to fewer housing options and higher rental rates in Oregon, they intend to double down and increase taxes at the same time, during the worst inflationary period since the 1970’s. We will require landlords to accept many types of criminals, reduce the amount of security deposits they can charge, require them to allow for-profit daycare in our rentals, take away the no-cause options, tighten the rent cap, and enact localized layers of restrictions that make it harder to keep track of what we can and cannot do, and then tenant advocates and legislators will scratch their heads wondering why there’s still a crisis. It reminds me of one of my dad’s favorite sayings, “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind’s made up!”
That’s exactly what’s happening in Eugene, even though an Econ Northwest study showed that since these types of radical restrictions were implemented in Portland, the city has seen a 25% reduction in single-family rental housing stock, driving up prices more and more. Where will it end? It won’t until we achieve balance in our legislature. Fingers crossed that we’ll achieve that goal in November…