Research Recommends Portland Remove Small Landlord Exemption

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The Editors's picture
Research Recommends Portland Remove Small Landlord Exemption

A new research study recommends Portland remove the small landlord exception for owners who have only one property and require them to pay moving expenses if they evict a tenant for no-cause or rent increases over 10 percent, according to reports.

Chariot Wheel Research Consultants authored the study which says, “This single-unit exemption not only undermines the spirit of the law, it leaves nearly 20% of renter households vulnerable to the same double-digit rent increases and no-cause evictions which precipitated the housing state of emergency to begin with, thus perpetuating and exacerbating the very hardships the RELO ordinance seeks to mitigate.

Mayor Ted Wheeler says more study is needed before any changes

"Furthermore, this exemption effectually creates two classes of renters – those who are protected and those who are excluded – by virtue of the size of their landlord’s local real estate investment portfolio,” the research report says.

The “relocation assistance” ordinance mandates that if a landlord raises the rent on a tenant by more than 10 percent or evicts a tenant without cause, the tenant can then demand the landlord reimburse them for moving costs up to $4,500, according to news reports.

M.K.Hanson, senior principal research analyst at Chariot, told the Portland Mercury, “There’s been this big piece of data that’s been missing from this very important conversation about policy. This is a huge gap and something that was really important.”

To arrive at her conclusions, Hanson told the Mercury she scraped tax data from the Multnomah County assessor’s website. By drilling down, she says she was able to get a sense of which properties weren’t occupied by their owners. She labeled those rentals, then analyzed them to find owners who appeared to own only one rental unit.

“This is a blunt instrument,” Hanson told the Mercury, who notes that Portland Housing Bureau staff did not voice any major concern with her methodology. “This study is not intended to split hairs.”

Portland mayor says more study needed of small landlord exemption

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has said in a statement more information is needed before he would support removing the exemption for landlords who own only one property.

“I have also heard concern about the effect that removing the exemption would have on the market and on Portland landlords that only have one unit. But assumptions don’t make good policy,” Wheeler said in the statement.  “Consequently, I have instructed PHB to refrain from amending the one-unit exemption at this time.”

Wheeler said wants to add a requirement to the small landlord exemption that owners certify they have an ownership interest in only one unit.

Landlords continue fight against the relocation ordinance

Last year, John DiLorenzo, attorney for two landlords challenging the ordinance said, “Though we appreciate the time and effort the court expended on this case, we still strongly believe the ordinance will only aggravate Portland’s housing crisis. The court failed to see it for what it is – disguised rent control, which violates state statutes and the Oregon Constitution,” DiLorenzo said.

Previous related stories:

Portland Landlords Sue To Halt Ordinance Requiring Payment To Move Evicted Tenants

Landlords Appeal Ruling In Tenant Relocation Lawsuit

Resources:

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler letter rental relocation advisory council

Portland’s Small-Time Landlords Don’t Have to Follow Renter Protections

Portland rental housing analytics summary report

Chariot Wheel Inc consulting

 

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