I was outraged to read Randy Billings’ excellent article Monday about Portland’s delinquent landlords (“Lack of enforcement leads to fewer Portland landlords registering rental units,” March 12). Anyone who has had to endure the inflexible rules of one of the giant property management companies in Portland can relate.

Port Property Management, for example, runs its 900 units like a prison camp – with threatening notes about bedbugs, orders to move vehicles at the last minute or be towed, overpriced units and an eviction process that starts automatically if you’re eight days late on rent.

Yet according to Monday’s article, this same company had failed to register 227 units as of Feb. 27. That’s 58 days late, with a violation fine of $100 per day, per unit. They owe the city (and us) $1.3 million in fines for 2018 – plus all the fines for the other non-paying landlords! Do you think for one instant they would hesitate to fine their tenants for delinquency?

Why are the city Housing Safety Office and Mike Russell, director of permitting and inspections, giving a free pass to these bad landlords? Are property companies more equal than citizens? When was the last time a parking enforcement official gave any of us numerous friendly warnings before slapping a ticket on our car window?

City code (Chapter 6, sections 150 to 157) says any unit with the $35 registration fee not paid by Jan. 1 is not registered. Period. It’s an illegal rental unit. Why pander? Just send all of the delinquent landlords the violation bill in the mail. That’s what they’d do if the tables were turned.

Mel Smith


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