Are the current proposed legislative bills really helping tenants?

 


     As you may know by now there are a few bills being proposed during the current legislative session that will put some very large restrictions on Landlords across the state of Oregon. These bills are calling for a range of things like doing away with no-cause notices, asking landlords to pay tenant relocation expenses when they serve a no-cause notice, and repealing the “no rent control” law to allow cities to enact rent control guidelines, just to name the major ones.

 

     Unfortunately these particular bills are very one sided and ignore the detrimental effect they will have on the small landlords across our state. A large portion of landlords are middle class citizens that are not making much of a profit beyond just paying the mortgage on their rental property. Some are landlords only because renting their home was the only option other than letting it go into foreclosure when the housing market crashed. When I see bills like this I feel that those presenting them are ignoring these landlords and are making a very incorrect assumption that all landlords are rich and making a large profit. Covering the cost of relocating a tenant could easily force some of these small landlords to miss payments on their mortgage and ultimately cause additional foreclosures. The other major problem with this is that it ignores the real cause to our current housing crisis. The real problem right now is simply that demand heavily outweighs supply. Just like every other free market this drives rents up and gives landlords the incentive to be pickier within their screening criteria, and to be stricter with those tenants that aren’t following the rules lined out in their lease agreement.

 

     The solution to the current problem is not more regulation as this will cause landlords to get out of the business of being a landlord and it will cause people thinking of becoming landlords to look elsewhere to invest their money (decreasing supply). As a representative for multiple landlord support associations and being a tenant myself, it is frustrating to see things like this. If the state really wanted to solve the current problems they would be focusing their energy on creating ways to encourage and speed up the building of more rental units. This could be done by financial incentives or even simply speeding up the rezoning and permitting process whenever someone wants to build rental units.  I feel like the current legislation being proposed is ignoring basic free market economics and they don’t realize that they will actually be making things worse for tenants.

 

     As a tenant that knows the current rental market I also feel that the tenant advocate groups pushing for these types of legislation are ignoring what their constituents really need right now: more housing units (supply). This will level off the rent increases and will also make landlords be willing to work with tenants rather than just ask them to move. If a landlord can’t quickly replace a tenant due to higher vacancy rates then they will do whatever they can to keep a tenant that is paying their rent even if they aren’t a perfect tenant.

 

     When it comes to no-cause notices they are also ignoring the detrimental effects it will have on tenants. Most no-cause notices are used when the landlord would prefer to avoid going through the time and expense of an eviction. This is actually a good thing for that tenant. The tenant ends up not having an eviction on their record. Given the current low vacancy rates it would be extremely hard for any tenant with an eviction on their record to be approved for a unit. By doing away with no-cause notices there will be a spike in evictions and any tenant with a recent eviction will find it harder to be approved than it already is right now.

 

     The only conclusion I can come to when I review the actual facts is that the tenant advocates and the politicians pushing for these regulations on landlords are just trying to make a name for themselves by creating a villain (landlords) and convincing their constituents that they are their hero. When in reality all of these things will actually hurt those that they are supposed to be representing.

 

So please contact your state representatives right away to point out the real harm that these bills will have on tenants and the middle income landlords.

 

Christian Bryant

President of IRC Enterprises

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