Winter is coming.

I love this time of year here in the Pacific Northwest. The sun is shining, it isn’t too hot, and it isn’t humid. Fresh-from-the-garden fruits and vegetables are ubiquitous. It is easy to get a full day’s work in by 3 PM and still have plenty of daylight to spend some leisure time outdoors in the evenings with friends and family. We know these days won’t last forever; enjoy them while you can. If you are a landlord with rental properties in the City of Portland, I would offer the same advice with respect to how you plan your business.

The past year has been marked by a series of legislative and regulatory changes that have made the business of being a housing provider much more challenging than before. In June, the Portland City Council passed new ordinances regulating Security Deposits and how Screening Criteria may be applied when offering a property for rent. The administrative rules are still being worked out, but this ordinance will go into effect on March 1, 2020. You can be sure that RHA will be offering classes to Portland landlords so that they may adapt their business practices to comply with the new regulations.

You should also know that the rental registration system put in place by the City of Portland last year is now being reviewed in order to add an annual fee. The City Council held its first reading and heard testimony on July 31. Despite protestations from landlords, it is highly probable that you will need to collect an additional $5 per month from your tenants in order to pay this new annual registration fee of $60 per unit, due April 15 each year along with your annual business tax forms. Keep this in mind as your next round of rent increases comes up on the calendar.

How about the Portland Mandatory Relocation Assistance Ordinance? It is unlikely to become less onerous any time soon. The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) recently published “Proposed Permanent Administrative Rules for the Mandatory Relocation Assistance Exemption Eligibility and Approval Process” that codifies the rules for exemptions from the ordinance. Suffice it to say that exemptions will be rarely allowed. Combined with the State of Oregon’s restrictions on lease terminations without cause, even if a landlord has a legitimate reason for terminating a lease without cause, it is going to cost more. By the way, PHB is accepting public testimony regarding the proposed permanent rules up until August 31 – they may be sent by FAX, mail, e-mail, or given in person at a public hearing to be held August 8 from 6 – 8 PM at IRCO on NE Glisan. See the PHB website or contact RHA Oregon if you need additional information.

To end on a cheerier note, Portland is still a fantastic place to live. The quality of life here, on average, is pretty good. I have lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Nashville. I have also spent time in cities around the world including New York, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, and Mumbai. I can honestly say that there is no place I’d rather be right now than Portland during these pleasant summer days. Enjoy them while you can – winter is coming.


Ken Schriver

RHA Oregon President