I oppose Portland’s Fair Rent referendum, but I welcome discussions of the very real challenges faced by both renters and landlords.

Washington, D.C.’s City Council attempted in the 1970s to address problems of dwindling affordable rentals by implementing rent control.

My one-bedroom was $145 a month; my neighbor had lived in her unit for 10-plus years and paid just $100. The 40-year-old building faced multiple capital repair issues. However, rent control restricted the landlord’s income. A 180-unit complex was sold and converted to condominiums. Everyone lost a home. This was not an isolated event.

My husband and I own a 1904 Portland apartment building. In 10 years, we’ve replaced the roof, sewer line, windows, siding and furnaces. We refurbish apartments when tenants vacate. Factor in rising property taxes and insurance, stormwater fees and Fire Department-mandated upgrades. If we could not raise rents beyond the rate of inflation, we could not continue to make improvements.

I encourage Fair Rent supporters to explore affordable-housing solutions that don’t cast landlords as the problem. Be careful what you wish for.

Elizabeth Miller