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How To Update And Improve Fitness Equipment And Facilities During Covid-19

How To Update And Improve Fitness Equipment And Facilities During Covid-19

Ruben Mejia

Apartment residents across the United States are currently confined to their apartments due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

As a result, fitness rooms, rooftop, ground and indoor pools are closed. That’s why this is the perfect time for building owners, landlords and management companies to reevaluate which updates can be made to the apartment buildings or apartment complexes.

High-speed wifi, updated fitness equipment and cleaning enhancements are amenities that owners should consider updating now, while the gyms are vacant.  New and existing tenants will benefit from these upgrades.

Fitness Centers

For building owners who want to upgrade their fitness centers and equipment, adding sustainable gym equipment is an option they should consider. These environmentally friendly machines enable users to produce electricity for the fitness center they work out at, while offsetting their own carbon footprint. This type of energy-producing equipment can be plugged into a standard outlet and generate watts that are converted to AC power and sent back into the power grid. The energy that is produced will help power lights, fans, TVs and other appliances connected to the same power grid. Through SportsArt’s SA Well+, a green fitness brand that develops sustainable gym equipment, users are able to track their workout and how much energy they produced.

Bacteria and Equipment

This may astound you, as it did me when I first read about a study conducted by FitRated. According to the study, the average exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a cafeteria tray; free weights have 362 times more germs that a toilet seat.

That’s why disinfectant-wipe stations should be available throughout buildings and fitness centers, as a way for tenants working out to clean their equipment when finished. Another feature to consider adding to the fitness center that can help assure health safety is rubber floors. Rubber mats are easy to sanitize with a mop, are water-resistant and help prevent mildew and mold from forming. Wipe stations and rubber flooring are easy additions to make while your building’s fitness center is closed, and they also ensure safety of the users once reopened.

How To Update And Improve Fitness Equipment And Facilities During Covid-19

Updating existing amenities

Tenants rely on reliable internet connections, especially these days because their homes have suddenly turned into their offices.

In an effort to make working from home easier and the transition smoother for tenants, building owners should consider looking into high speed wifi connections. Good and fast internet are necessary for everything tenants do, now more than ever before. Additional amenities to consider updating during this time include bike racks, laundry facilities and outdoor facilities (such as grilling stations and landscaping). As people are looking for excuses to get outside while we’re cooped up inside all day, having an outdoor space for an escape is a huge plus. According to Scientific Reports, at least 120 minutes a week spent outside is associated with good health and well-being. Simply providing benches, grills and gardens that tenants can escape to can reduce stress and anxiousness when these feelings are at an all-time high.

Building owners who are looking for ways to spice up their amenity offerings have an opportunity to plan and make updates that can promote better health and wellbeing for their tenants. As we are all living in uncertain times, tenants are appreciative to see their owners taking concerns and safety into consideration. This down time is a great way to reevaluate offerings and see what improvements can be made.

About the author:

How To Update And Improve Fitness Equipment And Facilities During Covid-19

Ruben Mejia, Executive Vice President for SportsArt Americas, has five years of experience in the fitness industry, previously holding the title of chief technology officer (CTO) at SportsArt. Prior to his work at the company, Mejia held leadership roles within the technology and ecommerce spaces. In 2000, after serving four years of active duty in the Army, Mejia began working in the corporate IT and telecommunications fields for the Department of Defense, launching his career and interest in the technology industry as a whole.


Ask Landlord Hank: What Should We Do About A Hoarder?

Ask Landlord Hank: What Should We Do About A Hoarder?

In this week’s Ask Landlord Hank question, he gives his thoughts on dealing with a hoarder tenant in the time of eviction moratoria and covid-19.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Twenty years ago, we rented the lower part of a duplex to a couple. After about 15 years, she died. Her husband stayed and has really trashed this apartment with his hoarding illness. He has stacks of newspapers that he refuses to recycle, saying “I haven’t read them yet.” The kitchen is all stacked with stuff that makes it unusable. There is a two-foot path through the whole place. He is a smoker, which doubles our worry about this hoarder situation.  I didn’t mention that the unit is in Ohio. Does that make a difference in whether he is protected from being evicted in Ohio?


Dear Landlady Beth,

I hope you have a lease with your tenant. Most leases will have a section regarding “Use of Premises,” usually saying that the tenant shall maintain the premises in a clean and sanitary condition and not disturb surrounding residents or the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the premises or surrounding premises.

The hoarding, which in some states is considered a mental health disorder, would clearly be in violation of this section of the lease.

I would put a “Notice to Cure” on the tenant’s door or hand it to him, stating that the tenant has 10 days to comply with the lease provision or he could be evicted.

Depending upon Ohio state statutes and local ordinances, the hoarding could be considered a “public nuisance” and your tenant could face the prospect of conviction of a misdemeanor.

I would act today to take care of this and either have the tenant clean up or move out.

You will most likely have to evict and clean up yourself. An older person who is a smoker, in a paper-filled environment, seems like a recipe for disaster to me. Good luck.


Hank Rossi

Ask Landlord Hank Your Question

Ask veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi your questions from tenant screening to leases to pets and more! He provides answers each week to landlords.
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Dealing with a hoarder who is a tenant during the moratorium ask Landlord Hank

Ask Landlord Hank: What’s Your Advice On Renting During the Moratorium on Evictions?

Unintended Issues Presented by COVID-19 Moratoria

Unintended Issues Presented by COVID-19 Moratoria

Bradley S. Kraus
Attorney at Law, Warren Allen, LLP

There is an old saying often uttered by attorneys: “Bad facts make bad law.” If COVID-19 has taught landlords anything, it can be summarized by playing off that phrase; as in, “bad laws make for bad situations for everyone.”

When I use the phrase “bad laws,” it is not to suggest that things like the current eviction moratoria do not serve a purpose. The problem with such laws/moratoria is that they are crafted by lawmakers who fail to see—or understand—the entirety of the picture. When that occurs, there are unintended consequences, two of which come to mind.

1. Fiscal Issues Related to COVID-19 Moratoria

Landlords are no doubt keeping watch on cries for rent waivers and rent strikes. As I stated in a previous article, such a concept would quickly be challenged, assuming adequate reciprocal protections for landlords were not in place.

Rent strikes have no legal basis and would send harmful ripple effects through our society beyond the scope of this article.

Many landlords have asked me about how they should approach the continual build-up of past-due balances related to rent and utilities.

As to rent, it is important to note that rent remains due under every moratoria in place as of this writing, meaning you will not waive your ability to collect the unpaid rent, even if you don’t communicate with your tenants regarding the same.

As to other amounts, waiver could become an issue, should you potentially trigger the waiver statute. If you are concerned about waiver as to these amounts, speak to your attorney regarding a waiver-prevention notice under ORS 90.412. This will allow you to (a) preserve your ability to act on the debt down the road, and (b) allow you to accept rent without fear of waiving those amounts.
Finally, it is important for landlords to understand the benefits of individualized advice and forms in these odd times. Many landlords with properties in other states may seek to use a “one-size-fits-all” form for issues regarding their Oregon properties.

While some may work, others may contain legally inaccurate language. I have noticed a rise in tenants’ attorneys attacking these forms in various ways and threatening legal action. Such problems can be avoided with up-to-date advice.

2. Conduct Issues during COVID-19

One of the bigger unintended consequences of the COVID-19 court shutdowns is the inability to deal with bad tenants.

Contrary to misconceptions held by some lawmakers, bad tenants are not just a landlord problem. Bad tenants make life miserable for other tenants, who want nothing more then to live peacefully.

At this juncture, with courts setting cases out to June, even if a landlord were to serve a termination notice upon a bad tenant and file an eviction action based upon the same, that bad tenant will likely receive weeks to continue to make life miserable for other tenants and the landlord.

What should a landlord do in that situation?

  • First, do not let the current court closures prevent you from taking actions to protect other tenants. This includes service of notices of termination as allowed by law. While tenants and landlords affected by COVID-19 deserve protections, bad tenants should not reap the benefits of the same.
  • Second, keep in mind that your other tenants may seek to point the finger at you if you sit on your hands and allow bad tenants to run rampant. While the inability to get into court due to moratoria likely presents a landlord a solid defense, exercising what rights you currently have—and/or contacting the proper authorities where needed—will hopefully keep the victim tenants happy and cause them to direct their anger to the appropriate party.

Final Thoughts On Unintended Issues Of Covid-19

COVID-19 is fundamentally changing every aspect of our society.

While I believe landlords are taking more than their fair share of the problems that stem from COVID-19, the current holding pattern in which we find ourselves will pass in time. Staying on top of your books and holding problem tenants accountable to the extent you are able will set you up for success when we resume our new normal.

About the author:

Brad Kraus Portland Attorney Unintended Issues Presented by COVID-19 Moratoria
Brad Kraus


Brad Kraus is an attorney at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is Landlord/Tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. A native of New Ulm, Minnesota, he continues to root for Minnesota sports teams in his free time. He is an avid sports fan, enjoys exercise, spending time friends and his fiancée, Vicky. You can reach Mr. Kraus via email at kraus@warrenallen.com, or by phone at 503-255-8795.

COVID-19: Landlord/Tenant Law in the Age of Global Pandemic

Unintended Issues Presented by COVID-19 Moratoria
Photo credit designer491 via istockphoto.com

Seattle Landlords Concerned About Possible Rent Strike

Seattle Landlords Concerned About Possible Rent Strike

Seattle landlords are concerned about a possible rent strike as the May 1 deadline for paying rent approaches, according to several reports.

Landlords, mostly those with just a few rental properties, vented their frustrations during the online town hall asking to be treated fairly because many are like a small family owned business – with just one or two rental properties.

“I think people tend to think about there being the parties in this whole thing – renters and corporate landlords, we are in the middle we are actually more like our tenants,” said Marilyn Yim according to Komonews.com. ” A lot of the landlords in this group are also unemployed right now.” Yim is in favor of rental assistance that would help tenants pay their rent, so landlords are able to pay their mortgage.

“We are a group of 80 independent landlords in Seattle, who are very concerned about the direction Seattle City Council is taking in terms of the moratorium on evictions, the rent freeze, and now, a ‘rent strike” where tenants are actively being encouraged to stop paying their rent,” wrote Charlotte Thistle with the Seattle Grassroots Landlords organization, in a statement about the rent-strike event.

As May rent deadlines approach, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and other activists have added their voices to nationwide calls urging tenants to use tactics like rent strikes to push landlords and the government to cancel rent payments and provide other help, the Seattle Times reported.

Yet missed payments could yield dire consequences for tenants when Washington’s emergency moratorium on evictions ends, some tenant advocates have warned, with no guarantee the gambit will succeed.

Governor Jay Inslee’s statewide ban on evictions expires after June 4.

The Seattle City Council last month asked Inslee and Congress to cancel rent and mortgage payments during the pandemic, and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, has taken up the cause, introducing a bill. The Metropolitan King County Council narrowly declined to support cancellations, which skeptics have said wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.

Experts recommend tenants be cautious and negotiate with their landlords.

Calls for Rent Strikes Don’t Help

The Rental Housing Association of Washington’s Kyle Woodring wrote, “In these unprecedented times, calls for rent strikes are particularly counterproductive and irresponsible. Rental income gives housing providers the flexibility to work out special agreements and payment plans with truly impacted neighbors. Additionally, apartment-community and maintenance staff are classified as essential workers at this time.

“Apartment-community residents will be harmed if ongoing maintenance, emergency repairs, resident-engagement efforts and other critical onsite functions decline or cease. Small landlords could risk losing their properties if they don’t receive rent to cover their mortgage and taxes.”


Local landlords asking to be treated fairly during COVID-19 crisis

Rent Strikes Imperil Housing Providers – And Can Impact Residents Who Need Assistance

Seattle’s Jayapal backs U.S. House bill to cancel rent and mortgage payments during coronavirus crisis

Rent and Mortgage Strike Washington

With May rent looming, some Seattle tenants eye ‘rent strikes’ as coronavirus continues to upend lives

Portland City Council Calls for Forgiveness of Rent, Mortgage Payments

Ask Landlord Hank: What’s Your Advice On Renting During the Moratorium on Evictions?

Ask Landlord Hank: What’s Your Advice On Renting During the Moratorium on Evictions?

In this week’s Ask Landlord Hank question, he gives his thoughts on best practices for renting during the moratorium on evictions to new tenants.

Dear Landlord Hank:

I’d love to know your thoughts or advice on renting during the moratorium on evictions. Can you have a new tenant waive the right of not paying rent?

My husband and I have two units of a triplex ready to rent. However, the day they announced the “no evictions for 120 days,” I received 12 leads of “groups” of individuals wanting to rent.  Fortunately, our criteria is high and none qualified, but it concerned us, so we pulled them off the market.  I don’t know how long we can afford to keep doing that, but I heard some larger complexes have put units on hold, too.

What are your thoughts on this topic?


Dear Landlord Debbi,

You are right to be VERY cautious during this novel situation, as you know some people are going to try to move in and not pay rent.

We have continued to market our rentals.

We are lucky to be in an area of the country where first, last and security up front are standard. You could ask for this monetary arrangement to give you the cushion on one additional month’s rent.

When we do our background screening we are looking very carefully at work histories, specifically if someone is in a business considered “essential.” That way, the tenant is more likely to continue working.

We are also checking to see that their hours haven’t been cut.

It sounds like you have high standards to begin with, so you should be OK to accept a tenant that meets your normal qualifications, especially if he or she is in an essential job.

Good luck and stay safe out there.


Hank Rossi

Renting during the moratorium ask Landlord Hank

Ask Landlord Hank Your Question

Ask veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi your questions from tenant screening to leases to pets and more! He provides answers each week to landlords.
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Ask Landlord Hank: How Should We Handle An Already Slow-Paying Tenant Now?

Ask Landlord Hank: What’s Your Advice On Renting During the Moratorium on Evictions?
Photo credit MangoStar_Studio via istockphoto.com

How to Avoid Crossing the Line with Tenants’ Privacy 

How to Avoid Crossing the Line with Tenants' Privacy 

With concern about covid-19 and cleanliness of rental property, tenants’ privacy may become an issue for some landlords.

By Holly Welles

Most state laws grant landlords the right to enter their tenants’ homes under specific circumstances. However, they must still meet certain legal requirements, such as giving enough notice beforehand.

Moreover, renters have a right to privacy. Thus, if a tenant denies access or expresses discomfort, property managers may not be able to enter the home if the issue isn’t serious enough.

Still, many landlords don’t honor these privacy laws and enter their properties whenever they please. Some even resort to spying on occupants to make sure they’re following the rules and stipulations in the lease agreement.

This can, of course, lead to legal issues, accusations of harassment, and even loss of property in some instances.

So it’s incredibly important that property managers respect tenant privacy, approaching everything professionally and legally. Here are a few simple ways to keep your contact respectful.

Address Long-Term Guests Properly

At some point, property managers will deal with long-term guests. In this case, a tenant houses someone who isn’t on the lease for an extended period. If this person causes any damage or breaks property rules, there’s very little a manager can do about it. Some nervous landlords might try to keep close tabs on suspect tenants. Of course, this is not a smart approach, as it breaches privacy boundaries – and tenants may notice.

Instead, landlords should confront the problem directly. This might include sending an email or scheduling an inspection or meeting to address the potential issue. Let them explain their guest situation — for instance, maybe they’re in a serious relationship or have a family member stay frequently — and openly communicate your expectations.

Moreover, landlords can avoid similar situations in the future by outlining guest stipulations in the lease. It’s important to be clear about overnight expectations regarding consecutive stays, the number of visits in a period of time, and subletting. That way, the tenant can see the basis for this discussion and better understand his or her responsibilities.

Give Notice Before Entering

Some landlords also have the bad habit of showing up unannounced at the tenants’ doors. Too often, they check up on occupants without having a specific reason to do so. This behavior is incredibly intrusive and, in many cases, illegal. Certain laws prohibit unnecessary repairs or frequent interruptions that interfere with tenants’ business. Of course, if someone is engaging in unlawful activities, landlords have the right to enter without notice. However, in most cases, the law requires they do so.

In many states, this means property managers must provide 24 to 48 hours’ notice before they come knocking on tenants’ doors. Even then, they should still keep a written record of all repairs and the reasons for intrusions to prove they were necessary. This way, renters can’t claim their landlord is making unnecessary repairs or stopping by unannounced.

Discuss Smart Devices with Tenants

As the general public increasingly adopts and accepts technology into the home, landlords are beginning to do the same. Some are installing internet-connected locks, water sensors, thermostats and wireless controls. These smart devices can help save energy and create a more comfortable and convenient home for renters. Plus, they increase property value, allowing landlords to rent or resell at higher prices.

However, landowners should discuss these additions with current tenants before installing them. Many tenants either don’t understand how these systems operate or simply don’t trust them. Smart-home gadgets can collect data and deliver it to third parties, who can misuse the information. Often, this entails selling tenant data to advertisers who target them or their demographic as a whole.

Aside from this being annoying, it also can cause trust issues. Managers can create a more trusting relationship by having conversations about this technology before installing it.

Keep Communication Open

The recurrent theme here is communication. To avoid crossing the line with tenants’ privacy, landlords must keep all lines of communication with occupants open. This should happen from the very beginning, when landlords are screening potential tenants. With the right conversations, they can choose the best renters and avoid turnover.

Furthermore, as the relationship between the property owner and tenant grows, both parties should continue to communicate effectively. The above instances are ways in which they might accomplish this. If everyone maintains transparency and a certain level of mutual understanding, they will respect one another and the relationship will be a positive one.

How Can You Get Tenants to Clean Regularly?

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5 Online Tools for Managing Your Rental Properties Remotely

5 Online Tools for Managing Your Rental Properties Remotely

If you plan to live far from your rental property, either permanently or for a short time, you need to have a plan for online tools for managing your rental properties remotely.

With the current spread of the coronavirus, property managers are seeking effective ways to manage their rental property from the comfort of their homes.

One effective way to achieve remote management of rental properties is through the use of online-based tools, which give you convenient ways to fill vacancies, collect rent, and communicate with your tenants and owners.

Also, not only does it help you reduce running costs, it allows you to achieve real-time control over your property and tenants.

Here are five online tools for managing your rental properties remotely

  • Google Forms: A huge part of being a property manager requires collecting information from tenants. Whether you want to know about customer satisfaction or what time of day is best to remodel the apartment pool, Google Forms is an excellent tool for conducting surveys and collecting data. Besides, with the AppSheet’s add-on for Google Forms, you can keep all survey data conveniently in one back-end spreadsheet, eliminating the need for manual survey review.
  • Buildium: Offers a free trial background check tool and credit checks for prospective tenants, and even more advanced features if you pay a small fee. Using this tool and some basic information about a tenant, you can check for criminal records, view credit reports, check eviction reports, and more – ensuring you only rent to qualified tenants. Property managers can even view information about past employers, public record filings, such as court documents, and payment histories for individual credit accounts.

  • TenantCloud: This app is a good solution for property managers who want to manage multiple aspects of their property. Tenants can use it to pay rent online, and property managers can use it to screen applicants, track contractor invoices, and other bills. Above all, it helps create a seamless communication channel between landlords, property managers, and tenants.
  • Landlordology: This handy tool is a free resource for getting fast answers to simple legal issues. Landlordology consists of an extremely helpful up-to-date Interactive State Rental Law Map, which helps property managers keep track of their state(s) landlord-tenant laws. For each state, Landlordology links to the official rules and regulations and summarizes them into six categories: security deposit; lease, rent and fees; notices and entry; disclosures and miscellaneous notes; court and legal-related; and business licenses. While we always recommend consulting your counsel for legal matters, Landlordology can be a great online tool for multi-state property managers.
  • Keepe: With the current lockdown in the United States, property managers may, at some point, require the service of a handyperson or contractor to handle emergency property-repair issues. For rental property repairs, there are few speedy and efficient solutions to get the job done. Online-based solutions such as Keepe are fast, changing how property managers handle maintenance issues. Keepe is an on-demand online maintenance solution for rental property managers. It helps property managers find contractors, obtain estimates, get the work done, and pay for services.

In conclusion

Embracing the power and convenience of online tools for property management can be a bit intimidating at first. With the right technology in place, you can manage your properties more efficiently than ever before. Whether you’re a property owner who wants to self-manage, or an independent property manager, you can use any or all the tools above to manage properties with ease.

About Keepe:

Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. The company makes a network of hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. Keepe is available in the Greater Seattle area, Greater Phoenix area, San Francisco Bay area, Portland, San Diego and is coming soon to an area near you. Learn more about Keepe at https://www.keepe.com

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Where the Major Candidates In Oregon Stand on Housing

candidates on housing oregon election

By Jennifer Shuch
HFO Research Analyst

As Oregon’s May 2020 primary approaches, a large number of local, regional, and national candidates have entered the race with housing as a top priority. Housing affordability, both for renters and homeowners, has become a flashpoint in political debate throughout the country.  Rent growth in Portland has begun to slow due to new units coming online. An increasing number of households are rent-burdened–defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as spending more than 30% of household income on rent.

At the national level, public housing investment is well below historical levels. But the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination have all unveiled plans aimed at tackling affordability issues. Former VP and presumptive nominee Joe Biden has a policy calling for $640 billion in investments aimed at helping renters and homeowners.

In the Portland mayoral race, Mayor Wheeler’s reelection may hinge on whether city residents are as enthusiastic about his housing record as he is. An additional three city council seats are also up for election. Most hotly contested is the position held since 2017 by Chloe Eudaly, who campaigned on a platform focusing primarily on issues such as tenant rights and rent control. Metro—a government entity charged with overseeing regional planning, parks, and some major entertainment venues in Portland’s three-county metro area—passed a $652.8 million housing bond in 2018. Metro will ask voters again in May for up to $250 million for homeless services funding. There are currently three races for open Metro Councilor seats.

In light of all this, we have compiled an overview of candidates’ positions on housing issues in races for the City of Portland, Multnomah County, Metro, and the Democratic nominee for U.S. President.

City of Portland

Mayoral Race
Ted Wheeler is up for reelection as Portland’s Mayor
. Among his 18 competitors are leading contenders Sarah Iannarone, Teressa Raiford, and Ozzie Gonzalez. Both Iannarone and Gonzalez have released housing plans, while Wheeler’s website mainly touts what he sees as his most significant accomplishments so far.

Portland candidates on housing

On his website, Mayor Wheeler claims that he has more than doubled shelter capacity in the city, prevented 7,000 households from falling into homelessness, helped 6,000 people connect with transitional housing services, and built over 800 units of affordable housing [1]His office has also touted the city’s progress in exceeding its housing bond goals of creating or preserving 1,300 housing units. So far, however, of the 1,424 bond-funded units, only two complexes with 314 total units are open and occupied as of March 2020 While Wheeler’s campaign website emphasizes what the Mayor has accomplished over the last four years, it does not indicate what his plans are for the future if he’s re-elected. And there are differing opinions as to the validity of the Mayor’s claims.

Of Wheeler’s plethora of challengers, both Sarah Iannarone and Ozzie Gonzalez have released housing proposals, and Teressa Raiford limits herself to commenting on demolition and displacement in her platform statement. Iannarone’s housing plan calls for a five-year plan to end the housing state of emergency, which has been in place since 2015. She argues that the city needs a task force to assess housing inventory and resident needs. That city leaders must use this information to solve the problems that are persisting in the city’s housing market. Iannarone also calls for increased communication between city bureaus, nonprofit organizations, and private sector stakeholders. Her plan addresses the city’s taxation system – she advocates for recalibration to eliminate inequities between East Portland and other parts of town, as well as land value and real estate transfer taxes. Iannarone’s housing proposal also focuses on eviction prevention and tenants’ rights. She argues in favor of a tenants’ bill of rights, including the right to organize, and she believes that the city should fund the rental registration system and track eviction rates. Iannarone is in favor of using tourism tax revenue to create a rental subsidy reserve, and advocates for relegalizing SRO’s throughout the city. She is the only candidate calling for a moratorium on the development of self-storage facilities in mixed-use zones, centers, and corridors. She also seeks the reduction of costs and red tape for small-scale building projects.[2]

Like Iannarone, Ozzie Gonzalez advocates for collaborating with stakeholders to tackle housing issues. His housing plan calls on the city to partner with managers, developers, and real estate firms to establish a housing inventory system. Gonzalez’s strategy focuses on development-side issues – he would like to see more incentives for producing a variety of housing types and an emphasis on transit-oriented development. He also believes the city should find new uses for vacant units.[3]

While Teressa Raiford does not have a comprehensive housing proposal, her policy statement, which she calls The People’s Platform, calls for a moratorium on urban redevelopment. She believes demolitions should await the coming together of communities to decide what should be saved or replaced. She pushes back on “demolition, rezoning, and redevelopment,” which she believes serves only “big investors, large corporations, and the high-income earners.”[4]

Mayor Wheeler was endorsed by The Oregonian for re-election in its op-ed dated Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Portland City Council

Portland City Council Position No. 1, is currently held by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is vacating her seat. Of the nine candidates, Carmen Rubio, Candace Avalos, and Timothy DuBois are the only candidates that have put forth housing plans.

Carmen Rubio is assumed to be the front runner due to the large number of endorsements she has received from local elected officials. Rubio advocates for coordinating with state, regional, and federal partners to address housing affordability, and investing in homeless prevention and anti-displacement measures. She argues that the city needs to increase density if residents want better transit and more affordable housing options, and she stresses the need for data-driven solutions to the city’s problems. In a survey conducted by Portland Tenants United (PTU), Rubio did not commit to advocating for an end to the statewide ban on local rent control policies. While she did not explicitly back the state law, she argued that she would need to be sure that increased rent restrictions would not reduce the availability of affordable housing.

Candace Avalos believes the city should fully fund rental assistance programs and collaborate with service providers to support people who may be on the verge of homelessness. She advocates for an innovation hub dedicated to finding new ways to build affordable housing without subsidies. Avalos also believes that the city should incentivize building affordable housing ‘at scale’ and advocates for streamlining the permitting process. Like Sarah Iannarone, she calls on the council to fully fund the Office of Rental Services, which oversees the rental registration program. Unlike Rubio, Avalos has committed to overturning the state preemption of local rent control policies. Avalos argues that local jurisdictions must be allowed to use whatever tools may help keep residents housed.

Tim DuBois believes the city should do more to increase housing diversity and build more housing near transit and job opportunities. He also argues for a streamlined and expedited permitting process.

Carmen Rubio was endorsed by The Oregonian in its op-ed on Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Portland City Council Position No. 4 is also up for grabs this year, with incumbent Chloe Eudaly facing challenges from former Mayor Sam Adams as well as professor and prior public servant Mingus Mapps, Keith Wilson and four other candidates. Eudaly defeated incumbent Steve Novick in 2016, mainly by gaining the support of housing and tenants’ rights advocates. During her time as a commissioner, she has advocated for rent control and increased tenant protections. Eudaly’s staff devised the recent FAIR ordinances governing rental applications and safety deposits. As of March, Eudaly has not released a housing policy platform to indicate her priorities should she be re-elected.

Former Mayor Sam Adams has received an endorsement from Smart Growth Oregon, and his housing plan reflects the idea that more housing is needed at all affordability levels to make up for years of underbuilding between 2010 and 2018. While Adams supports the Residential Infill Plan, he believes that the city should also increase density along arterials and near transit stops. He also argues for expediting the permitting process for both affordable and market-rate projects. Adams’s goal, should he be elected, is to bring all stakeholders together to build a long-term plan to determine which type of housing is needed, and who should build it. He also wants to re-evaluate current design rules to make sure they meet city goals. Adams also intends to conduct regular surveys of renters and property owners to track affordability, rent increases, and demographic information, as well as property ROI and the amount an owner invests in updates and maintenance.[10] Adams is also in favor of ending the state preemption on local rent control laws and allowing local jurisdictions to establish individual policies.

Mingus Mapps has released plans on housing and homelessness, both of which emphasize the need for new housing units at a variety of income levels. His Ending Homelessness and Housing First proposal calls for a ban on price gouging in the rental market, as well as an additional 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing. He also believes the city should increase funding levels for short-term rental assistance to keep people in their homes when they may be experiencing temporary setbacks. In his Affordable Housing for All plan, Mapps advocates for fee reductions, streamlining, and faster inspections to increase development activity in the city. He also argues that the city should protect renters’ rights and increase housing density. In his public appearances, Mapps has argued that the City Council has neglected to bring all interested parties to the table to find the best solutions for housing and homelessness issues. In an interview with HFO, Mapps  agreed that the city has weaponized housing policy, and made it harder for smaller landlords to operate. He believes the city should do more to understand the consequences of policy decisions.

Also running for Position 4 is Keith Wilson, a University of Portland Business School graduate, world traveler, and President of Portland-based trucking company TITAN Freight. His housing plan focuses on the need for more housing units in the city. He advocates increased flexibility to allow for more SRO, micro, and cohousing units. He also argues for the conversion of single-family homes to multi-generational and multi-family residences and the reduction of development fees.

While an additional four candidates are running for Commissioner Eudaly’s seat on the City Council, none of these contenders have released a housing proposal.

Mingus Mapps won the endorsement of The Oregonian in its op-ed published Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Portland City Council Position No.2. Commissioner Nick Fish passed away suddenly in December. Since then, 13 candidates have filed. Of those candidates, four have housing policy details outlined on their campaign websites, while an additional two mention housing but do not discuss the details of their housing plans. Loretta Smith, who ran against Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty in 2018, is the highest-profile contender in this race. In her brief list of city priorities, Smith states that she will address homelessness through increased supportive services and affordable housing.[14]

Sam Chase, who has been the Metro Councilor for District 5 since 2013, touts his involvement in the creation and passage of the Metro housing bond as a major highlight of his career.[15] Chase’s housing plan includes implementing a plan originally championed by Nick Fish to create 2,000 permanent supportive housing units for homeless residents. He also believes the city should invest in creating new affordable housing, particularly in transit corridors, with infrastructure already in place to support these new units. He also believes that jurisdictions within the Portland Metro Area should be required to build adequate shelter beds and affordable housing.[16] Chase is in favor of lowering the rent increase threshold that triggers the relocation assistance requirement in Portland and overturning the statewide prevention on local rent control policies.[17]

Another frontrunner in the race is Julia DeGraw, progressive organizer, and director of nonprofit lobbying organization PDX Forward. DeGraw’s housing plan, which she calls Housing for All, argues that developers have too much influence on city policy. She believes housing is a human right, and the city should fully fund rental assistance programs as well as the Rental Services Office and build profoundly affordable housing throughout the city. She also argues that the city should go further in outlawing no-cause evictions and do more to enforce recently passed tenant protections—DeGraw advocates for redirecting subsidies to affordable housing projects and community land trusts. Like Candace Avalos, she believes the city should set up an innovation hub to come up with new ideas for producing affordable housing. She also urges the city to explore a vacancy tax.[18]

Also running is a longtime tenant advocate and former head of Portland Tenants United (PTU), Margot Black. Black advocates for lifting the state ban on rent control so that the city of Portland can enact what she refers to as ‘real’ rent control policies. She also advocates for increased tenant protections, including universal eviction defense, and a collective bargaining process for rental agreements. In addition to increased tenant protections, Black is in favor of a ‘housing wage for all’ and argues that the city should improve accountability for public and affordable housing providers.[19]

Both Jeff Lang and James Davis’s proposals focus primarily on homelessness and include big ideas for turning under-utilized city sites as campuses for homeless residents. Jeff Lang argues that the city should turn the Veterans Memorial Coliseum into such a school, including dorms with locking doors, a medical clinic, teaching facilities, and offices for local nonprofits.[20] Meanwhile, James Davis argues that Concordia University, which will shut down at the end of the Spring semester in 2020, should be purchased by the city and operated as a housing-first project.[21] Both Lang and Davis also argue that the city should allow for a wider variety of housing types, including co-ops, SROs, tiny home villages, and intentional communities. Davis believes the city can facilitate this by creating a public bank for nontraditional lending.

Sam Chase won the endorsement of The Oregonian in its op-ed published Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Other Local Elections and Candidates on Housing
While candidates in the Portland City Council and Mayoral races are prioritizing housing, candidates in other local races have not yet released housing plans. The vast majority of candidates running for Multnomah County and Metro Council positions have not released many details on how they will address the region’s most pressing issues. But with Metro planning to release housing bonds and homeless measure funding to cities and counties throughout the region, how these candidates propose to address housing needs may become more critical than ever.

Multnomah County Commissioner District 3
Jessica Vega Pederson
, who is running for Multnomah County Commissioner in District 3, has released a housing statement (not a plan). Pederson plans to work with community organizations to build coalitions with local government agencies, including Multnomah County, to address homelessness and affordable housing. She also believes the county should operate as a “one-stop-shop” for connecting residents with housing and social services.[22]

Metro Councilor District 3
Gerritt Rosenthal
has released a statement arguing that Metro should do a better job of evaluating data and listening to residents and developers when determining whether to expand the urban growth boundary. He also supports Metro’s housing bond.[23]

Metro Councilor District 5
Two candidates for Metro Councilor in District 5 answered PTU’s survey about rent control and tenant protections, though they have not put out comprehensive housing plans. Candidate Cameron Whitten is in favor of lowing the statewide rent cap but doesn’t believe local jurisdictions should be able to set individual rent control policies, arguing instead for a stronger relocation ordinance in the city of Portland.[24] Candidate Chris Smith disagrees with Whitten, arguing that housing stability is a crucial part of planning for climate-related investments. Smith believes cities and other local jurisdictions should be able to establish regulations that help keep people in their homes.[25]

About the author:

Candidates on housing in Oregon
Jennifer Shuch is the senior research analyst at HFO Investment Real Estate in Portland. She can be reached at jennifer@hfore.com or (503) 241-5541.

Schedule for voting in the primary:
April 22-24 – Voters’ Pamphlets delivered
April 28 – Voter registration deadline
April 29 – First day ballots are mailed to voters
May 19, 2020 – Election day

Candidates on Housing Resources

[1] https://www.tedwheeler.com/record-of-making-progress-2/

[2] https://sarah2020.com/policies/housing-for-all

[3] https://ozzie4pdx.org/our-agenda/#vision

[4] https://www.teressaraifordformayor.com/the-peoples-platform

[5] https://www.carmenforportland.com/priorities/

[6] https://www.pdxtu.org/carmen_rubio_2020

[7] https://candaceforportland.com/platform/housing-houselessness/

[8] https://www.pdxtu.org/candace_avalos_2020

[9] https://www.timforportland.com/platform

[10] https://www.samadamspdx.com/post/affordable-housing

[11] https://www.mingusmapps.com/houselessness

[12] https://www.mingusmapps.com/housing

[13] http://www.keithforportland.com/affordable_housing_subpage

[14] https://www.votelorettasmith.com/priorities-accomplishments

[15] https://www.samchaseforportland.com/about/

[16] https://www.samchaseforportland.com/housing-and-homelessness/

[17] https://www.pdxtu.org/sam_chase_2020

[18] https://julia4pdx.com/housing-for-all/

[19] https://votemargot.com/housing/

[20] https://www.jefflang4citycouncil.com/homelessness-and-the-housing-shortage

[21] https://portland2020vision.org/issues#houselessness

[22] https://www.jessicavegapederson.com/priorities/

[23] https://gerrittformetro3.net/

[24] https://www.pdxtu.org/cameron_whitten_2020

[25] https://www.pdxtu.org/chris_smith_2020

Portland’s New F.A.I.R. Housing Ordinance

Many Apartment Tenants Staying In Place – For Now

Many Apartment Tenants Staying In Place – For Now

Apartment tenants are not moving out this time of year as normal patterns would dictate due to the impact of COVID-19, according to an article from RealPage.

“We are seeing a huge spike in rescinded non-renewal notices,” Jay Parsons writes in his blog. “This occurs when renters who previously intended to move out change plans and decide to stay put. Compared to the same time last year, rescinded notices have nearly doubled.”

The U.S. apartment industry has seen an unusual surge in retention rates. This is counter to the normal seasonal patterns. So managers are seeing more rescinded notices, more month-to-month leases, and more renewal demand, Parsons says.

“As property managers have these conversations with renters, they’re finding many want to stay put, but only for the short term while they wait out COVID-19,” Parsons said. “Apartment managers are providing unprecedented flexibility to help them out.

“But they’ve also gone even further. In some cases, they’ve allowed renters to remain in units that were already leased for a future date by a new resident – leading to a scramble to then re-sell the new renter on a replacement unit. Many have waived premiums for month-to-month leases or other short lease terms,” Parsons says.

apartment tenants staying in place
Chart courtesy of RealPage

He cautions this all means a summer leasing season with “heavier exposure and lighter new-lease demand than we would typically see in a normal summer.

“Lease-expiration management becomes more critical now than ever. Under normal circumstances, you would offer big premiums for short-term leases to help stagger expirations. That may not be an option right now for property managers concerned about both optics and the reality of taking care of residents in need.

“Even without short-term premiums, though, you can certainly incentive longer-term renewal commitments,” he writes

Read the full post here on RealPage.

April Rent Collection Better Than Expected; May is a Concern

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New Rental Insurance Technology Tool for Property Managers

New Rental Insurance Technology Tool for Property Managers

Liberty Mutual has built a new set of innovative technical capabilities that allows the integration of the quoting and binding of rental insurance into property manager’s ecosystems.

During a recent interview, Kelly Piotrowski, Director, Ecosystem Partnerships for Liberty Mutual, said, “We say ‘ecosystem’ because it could be a website, it could be a mobile application, it could be the portal that someone uses to apply for an apartment and pay their rent.”

The Insurance Information Institute says only 37 percent of renters buy insurance leaving 63 percent uninsured, and “that’s pretty scary when you think about it because even just to replace an iPhone, a laptop, or your clothes, can be a pretty significant life event for a person,” Piotrowski said.

Liberty Mutual built the new renters API (application program interface) because “we wanted to build a set of capabilities that would allow us to partner with people to make it easier for those who should have renter’s insurance to get it,” she said.

“These capabilities are not partner specific and can easily integrate into a variety of partner experiences.  Partners work directly with the Liberty Mutual partner technology team and not a third party.”

“While the API is an easy digital solution, functioning on both mobile and desktop, the quote-and-bind offer is integrated into your digital experience, with no need for individuals to be rerouted to LibertyMutual.com or call an agent.

Piotrowski said they are seeking partnerships with other companies with a larger base of users, such as the one they already have with Rom8.io, which helps people find roommates. The goal is to engage renters while they are online using digital products and signing up for their housing.

“So we’re meeting people where they are and we’re making it easier and trying to reduce as many barriers as possible so that people will finally get the coverage that they need,” Piotrowski said.

Although selecting housing may be top of mind at the moment, “We can say, ‘You know what? You should really have renter’s insurance while you’re here. Why don’t you take a look at this?’ And then the person can actually engage with the renter’s-insurance product without ever having to leave,” she said.

She explained that if a property-management company had a website and used the API renters could actually buy the insurance through that API on the partner’s site, and it could proactively list the property management as the insured and potentially then send a proof of insurance.

A simplified rental insurance-buying experience

The technology and the product itself is the same full-coverage rental insurance someone would get from going to LibertyMutual.com or calling the company.

“It’s the same product, but it’s definitely a simplified product from a purchasing standpoint,” Piotrowski said, so it does not require as much information as other insurance products. She said partners in the program will most likely already have much of the data needed to apply for renters insurance with the company.

Property management typically already has the information that Liberty Mutual needs.

“Things like name, address, and data for email address, how long have you been living in this apartment? It is straightforward information, but it’s also things that our partners are likely to already have from their customers. So then you have the opportunity to further simplify the process by pre-filling it as well to expedite the process it takes for someone to then actually complete the quoting and binding,” Piotrowski said.

About the program:

Liberty Mutual Insurance has created a Renters Insurance API that will allow your customers or tenants to quote and buy renters insurance without ever leaving your digital experience. To learn more about the program, visit libertymutual.com/renters-api or contact API.Partnerships@libertymutual.com.