Re: The rent-control petition by Portland landlords:

This proposal would benefit both landlords and tenants. It allows landlords to keep existing rent prices stable for their current tenants and, in return, landlords can raise rents to market rates once a tenant moves out.

Originally, I did not raise rent on existing tenants. Most landlords try to minimize turnover and, if I have good tenants, I would rather keep them than risk a worse tenant for slightly higher profit. Unfortunately, because of the current rent control ordinances, if I do not raise rent regularly, I cannot catch up once the unit turns over to a new tenant.

I currently charge below-market rates on my five units. If I continue to do that, when I sell the building or a tenant moves out, the lower rates still apply. That decreases the value of my property and incentivizes me to increase rent the maximum amount annually, so that I don’t get further behind. Otherwise, as property taxes and utility costs increase and repairs are needed, I operate at a loss.

This change to rent control allows landlords to offer lower rates to existing tenants, and offers landlords the opportunity to recover that discount when the unit turns over. Keeping prices artificially low does nothing to increase housing supply in Portland, but it does encourage landlords to maximize rent increases whenever and however they are allowed. We need more affordable housing, not regulations to prevent property owners from making a living. This proposal helps landlords and tenants keep costs lower.

Jody Huntington

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