2016 Oregon Legislature wrap up: Did Affordable Housing Benefit?

Portland Apartment Owner Sues City Over New 90 Day Rules

Property Management Systems – Portland’s leading resource for rental news.

If you’ve been following the 2016 Portland Oregon rental market there’s no denying that we are in what can be described as an affordable housing crisis and with the 2016 Oregon Legislature wrapping up it’s session the big question everyone wants to know is if they actually were able to do anything to solve the affordable housing problem?

What Was Passed?

The 2016 Oregon Legislature was able to pass a variety of bills that were aimed at combating the affordable housing crisis in Portland and across the state of Oregon. We saw a variety of bills passed that will fight the affordable housing crisis in different ways including:

  • Banning rent increases during the first year of a tenant’s month-to-month tenancy.
  • Requiring a 90-day notice for rent increases.
  • Lifting a ban on inclusionary zoning in exchange for some tax breaks and other benefits for builders.
  • Spending more money on reducing the homeless population in Portland and across Oregon.

Although the Oregon Legislature made some progress in addressing the affordable housing problem the reality is that there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done to make real progress in the dealing with this problem since housing prices have been going up for the last 8 years and lack of construction has limited the rental properties people have to choose from in Portland and other communities across Oregon

Minimum Wage Increased

Another victory for the 2016 Oregon Legislature was minimum wage bill that was signed into law this month by Governor Brown. A minimum wage increase is badly needed in Portland since wage growth has not kept up with the increase in rents over the last 8 years but with the minimum wage only increasing to $14.75 here in Portland, $12.50 in rural counties like Bend and $13.50 in communities like Salem one can only wonder if it will be too little too late by the time wages start going up since many people who currently live on minimum wage are moving out of Portland and Oregon as a whole.

Portland Still Fighting the Housing Emergency Hard

Even though the 2016 Oregon Legislature has ended their session the city of Portland is still doing its part to fight the housing emergency hard by spending up to $3 million dollars on a variety of housing emergency programs.

According to city budget information, the $1.1 million in contingency funds currently available to fund some of the programs is not enough for the current fiscal year. As a result, the council will decide whether or not an additional $2.75 million should be directed toward the housing emergency services.

The funding would come from two sources, the first being a $1.6 million settlement that the city received from online travel companies in regard to hotel and motel taxes collected between 1999 and 2015. The second source is about $1.1 million that would come from the Portland Development Commission by way of a $12.5 million cash payment PDC received from General Growth Properties, the owner of Pioneer Place.

GGP made that payment as part of an agreement with PDC that released the mall owner from future payment obligations.

If the council approves the budget amendment, $1 million would go to the Portland Housing Bureau to provide short-term rent assistance. Another $700,000 would help fund the Sears Shelter and the Menashe Peace Shelter, two temporary shelters that have been operating for a few months.

Funding would also support a temporary property broker, fencing, trash and toilets for a camp that has emerged on a city-owned property on North Kirby Avenue and daytime storage facilities, among other services.

Source – Bizjournals.com

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

One of the most important things to realize after studying the statistics from Zillow is that rent increases in Portland Oregon are going to be slowing down when compared to 2015 because of one reason, the supply of single-family homes, town homes and apartment buildings in Portland Oregon are finally catching up with demand.

Supply is also catching up with demand in more cities across the United States including Seattle, Denver, Atlanta and other hot markets just in time since construction of new multifamily and single-family homes has been behind by at least one year thanks to the recent economic slowdown.

Many Options on the Table to Slow Rent Increases

In spite of the good news that rate increases in Portland Oregon are going to be slowing down in 2016 many people including some Democratic lawmakers are doing everything possible to put options on the table for making that Portland Oregon rental market a little easier for renters including:

  • Requiring owners to pay their long-term tenants relocation costs.
  • Forbidding landlords from evicting their tenants if they have complied with the landlord’s maintenance requests.
  • Forcing builders to set aside at least 30% of all their new housing units for renters or owners who cannot afford market prices
  • Setting aside at least $10 million from the state lottery bonds to preserve affordable housing in cities like Portland, Salem and other Oregon cities.

Besides all of these ideas, some state legislators also are considering the option of having legislation removed so that a property owner will not have to pay capital gains taxes when they sell their land at the market rate to a housing authority or local nonprofit organization.

Although many people in Portland Oregon support most of the ideas mentioned here some feel that ideas like exclusionary zoning will only make Portland Oregon housing more expensive especially for these reasons:

Source – Rentportlandhomes.com

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To learn more about the state of the Portland housing market, or for Portland Oregon Property Management, contact Property Management Systems today by calling us at (503) 515-3170 or click here to contact us online.

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