After reading “Super-tight apartment market torments renters, redefines parts of city” (Nov. 15), I felt pangs of recognition. Having rented apartments in other cities and states, I had the most difficulty finding quality, appropriately priced housing in the Portland area.

More homeowner-landlords, seeking to capitalize on rental demands, are getting into the business without the proper knowledge or experience. The potential pitfalls range from general nuisances, as in my experience, to shady practices or even unfit living conditions, as the article reports.

Last year, my partner and I rented an apartment in the West End. The owners, who lived below us, neglected obligations incumbent upon them as landlords partly because they viewed our rental unit as their home – something I believe professionals are less inclined to do.

Problems included failing to plan for heat to come on in our unit while they were away, a malfunctioning dryer they did not service, previously undisclosed home renovations and an exhaustive list of house rules that infringed on our rights to privacy and reasonable use. We decided to leave this spring, at no small financial cost.

These issues, though the much lesser of evils in landlord-tenant situations, are the mark of amateurs. The difficulty of finding quality housing, overseen by landlords who understand their obligations, is costly and time-consuming and disproportionately affects the unestablished and those with modest incomes.

Standardizing rental applications, making nonrefundable application fees illegal and having a reporting system for landlords who falsely advertise prices would help to mitigate some of the abuse of renters in a landlord’s market. Further, the city could offer legal clinics to educate landlords.

Twenty-five years from now, it will matter greatly how Portland grew and developed real estate, and if it did so in consideration of our vibrant and diverse community.

Mara Grbenick

Portland