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March 2017
If you own a piece of rental property in Oregon today, you are being recruited by our local and state governments to open your pocket books or stretch into your line of credit or Master Card to the tune of thousands of dollars a year in order to pay for social services that your elected officials have deemed to be their priorities and have broadcast as their campaign promises. 
 
This is your personal “Housing Crisis”. 
 
If, by being a responsible consumer you have managed to qualify for a mortgage and added hard-earned savings as your down payment on a rental property; if you and your spouse and even your kids have spent countless evenings and weekends beyond your regular jobs or school to clean, paint, repair, re-carpet, scrub tubs and walls, and spent hours on strenuous yard work to spruce up your vacant rental property, all for the hope of some steady income to offset the expenses and the promise for long term sweat-equity (as a retirement nest egg that does not rely on the government or social security), you are being blamed for a housing shortage that ironically - by virtue of your investment - you have literally worked hard to prevent. 
 
This is our political season of “March Madness”. 
 
If you are fortunate enough to have seen any return on your investment - or heaven forbid, have increased your net worth by absorbing the liability of owning your rental properties over time – you have become the target of a smear campaign characterizing you as a heartless profiteer. This characterization is designed to guilt you into accepting the blame (i.e. pay the expenses) for homelessness, addiction and violence, by requiring you to pay for the relocation of people who have proven to be bad tenants and are threatening the safety of the neighbors. In order to keep your long term resident (whom you may well have kept at low rent for years to prevent them from moving) the bad actors are given thousands of dollars to move down the street and harass someone new. So what’s been solved? 
 
This is what they mean by “Passing the Political Buck”. 
 
I share these provocative points with you to stimulate action. You see, I don’t believe renters are to blame for the rising cost of living. I certainly do not minimize issues of tenants’ health safety and welfare. I am an advocate for safe and affordable neighborhoods. I do believe the government has a role in housing policy. I admire successful investment property owners. I respect the complex legal process involved in a rental contract. But I am frustrated with the escalating, rancorous PR tactics employed by radical groups, and I admit that I am cynical of some politicians too. As the President of Rental Housing Alliance Oregon, I am spending personal time talking to local and state representatives, along with housing rights advocates to try and create some process to address the concerns of property owners and tenants. So, are we getting anywhere?  
 
This is what I call work. 
 
Ron Garcia, RHA Oregon President