What Can Housing Providers Facing a Challenging 2022 Do?

What Can Housing Providers Facing a Challenging 2022 Do?

The industry is being reshaped by political forces with little thought given to supply and affordability of housing so what can Oregon housing providers and others do in 2022?

Michael Havlik, CPM®
Deputy Executive Director
Multifamily NW

As housing providers ring in the New Year, it is apparent that that the fallout of the COVID-19 public health emergency will have long-lasting and widespread impact on our industry.

While unemployment is at record lows, many of you are struggling to hire and retain employees. Further, many are straining to operate in a legal environment that has been altered multiple times in a single year.

Housing-related responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were arbitrary, often misrepresented, and made communications between housing providers and residents nearly impossible during a pandemic when it was never more critical. Our concern for the operating environment facing housing providers cannot be understated.

With these immediate priorities dominating our thoughts, it can be difficult to see the broader landscape of challenges to housing providers. The industry is being reshaped by political forces with little thought given to supply and affordability of housing, The toxic attitudes expressed toward housing providers at our state- and local-level governing bodies are clearly designed to drive housing providers away from participating in the civic process, and away from the profession of providing housing.

Now, after what has felt like a nonstop series of special sessions, emergency board meetings and regular legislative sessions, the six-week 2022 Oregon legislative session is quickly approaching. We do not know if lawmakers will hold fast to a commitment to refrain from making major changes to ORS Chapter 90, or if we will see an avalanche of bills targeting the rental industry as we have during each legislative session of recent memory.

What do we recommend that Housing Providers do?

  • Contact your representative: Your representative needs to know what you are experiencing, and you need to know what they are thinking. Make this the year you contact them more than once with personal stories about the impact of existing laws and the consequences of proposed legislation. Your elected leaders can only hear you if you are communicating. Click here to find your legislators: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html.
  • Stay informed: Keeping updated on elections and proposed legislation, through your industry association, will be key in 2022. Be sure to pay attention to local races, ballot measures and local rulemaking as well. Those regulations often have a negative impact on the industry. Frequently, ideas implemented at the local level are viewed as proven to work and get adopted at the state level.
  • Vote: How have your interests been represented over the past three years? The people we vote into office matter. Are they experienced, well-rounded, collaborative and fair? Do they have the temperament to study issues deeply and vote consistent with their constituency, or will they simply fall in line with an influential party leader? Register to vote at Oregonvotes.org. April 26th is the registration deadline for the May 17th election.

This is the year to get involved. The Oregon legislative session begins next month. We all need Oregon housing providers to get prepared.

As we’ve been reminded repeatedly, “You’re either at the table, or you’re on the menu.”

About the author:

As the deputy executive director for Multifamily NW, Michael brings 29 years of industry experience in market rate and affordable housing.   A native Oregonian, Michael obtained his undergrad degree from the University of Portland, and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. He is a licensed principal broker in Oregon, and a Certified Property Manager®.  He served as past president of Multifamily NW in 2003 and was nominated for the ACE Award’s Regional Property Manager of the Year in 2015.

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