Many Portland landlords have had some tenants who may be widowed, sick, disabled, etc., and become what I call “foster tenants.” The landlord gave them little or no rent increases through the years. Rates for these apartments are very low compared to market. This situation is not unusual.

Now these apartments are outdated but are safe and habitable. In the coming years, many “foster tenants” will move on. All these life events would create housing opportunities for new tenants – or would they?

Under current rules, the landlord is compelled to offer the apartment at the old rate plus 5%. Let’s assume the “foster tenant” has a rate of $500, the new rate couldn’t be any higher than $525. But new tenants won’t rent the outdated apartment. The landlord can’t update the apartment without a rent increase to market. This is a bad situation for all.

Question A encourages the landlord to invest in the unit, creating an apartment that people want to rent. The landlord can continue to support the “foster tenant” at a low rate, the new tenant gets an updated apartment they love, the landlord gets to update the apartment to meet tenant expectations. All of this happens with a “yes” on Question A.

Phil St. Germain
Cape Elizabeth

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: