By Vlad Yurlov
Once again, Oregon’s legislature has succumbed to shortsighted politics. Effective June 30, House Bill 4213 prohibits landlords from evicting tenants due to nonpayment until next April, regardless of their circumstances.
Of course, there could be many reasons tenants might not pay their rent. One of the most pressing is Oregon’s lockdown policy, which effectively prohibited many businesses and entire industries from operating, and their employees from supporting themselves. While these conditions may warrant legislative action, people who have continued to earn an income may simply choose to delay their rent payments.
By being so broadly applied, this legislation will harm landlords, particularly small private owners who still must pay utilities and property taxes on their units. But property owners won’t be alone in suffering. This moratorium will make it even harder for people to find apartments for rent, because only the most secure tenants would be considered during a time when anyone can simply put off their payments. In addition, the end of the moratorium likely will bring more debt, eviction, and ultimately homelessness to an already stretched system.
Legislators should understand that seemingly simplistic quick fixes can cause long-run damage. This legislation will push Oregon from having a health crisis to an even deeper housing crisis. Laws should be made with specificity, not reactionary haste.
Vlad Yurlov is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.
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By Micah Perry
The Portland City Council recently passed a new ordinance that will require landlords to register all of their rental units with the city and pay a $60 yearly registration fee per unit.
While regulated affordable housing will be exempt, other types of rentals, like mobile homes, will still be subject to the fee. It is almost certain that landlords will pass on the increased costs to their tenants.
During one council meeting, current landlords noted that the registration fees will siphon money away that could be used for maintenance. They also said that increased housing regulations will discourage potential developers and landlords from wanting to build new rental units in the city. Many landlords are incentivized to sell their units, rather than rent them, because of the increased regulation.
The money raised by the fee will fund the Rental Services Office, a new, needless expansion of Portland’s bureaucracy that will only serve to grow the number of rules placed on housing in the city.
This ordinance adds to the long list of policies that disincentivize the operation and construction of rental units in Portland. If the Portland City Council keeps pursuing policies like these, rents will continue to go up and rental housing will continue to disappear.
Micah Perry is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
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