Landlord and tenant law attorney Leah Sykes of Greenspoon Marder discusses Portland’s Fair Access in Renting (FAIR) ordinances at last month's membership luncheon.
Oregon Housing News
February 2020

Dear Multifamily NW Members,

As February is Black History Month, I think the quote from philosopher and poet George Santayana is worth reflecting upon:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Oregon has an abhorrent history of discrimination we cannot shy away from. As rental housing providers, we can play a key role in ensuring that this history does not repeat itself, including by educating ourselves about fair housing. By attending forums like today’s Fair Housing Fair, we can help see to it the Fair Housing Act is applied in our communities. By bringing our portfolio managers, leasing agents, maintenance technicians and apartment managers into these conversations, we can guarantee everyone in the industry understands its importance. And by emphasizing the value of fair housing, we can bring our communities closer to housing access for all.

And as many Oregonians celebrate our state’s 161 st birthday tomorrow, we may be asking ourselves, what long-reaching effects have these racist, unfair policies and attitudes cast into the 21 st century and what can we do about it?

By its very nature, multifamily housing brings together families and individuals with diverse backgrounds and stories. As housing providers, we are in a position to offer welcoming and vibrant communities in which tenants have an opportunity to learn from their neighbors and gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.

We look forward to offering you, our members, more educational offerings and opportunities for understanding in the year ahead.
Deborah Imse
Executive Director
Portland's bidding wars are cooling: Homes sold above asking price hit a 3-year low
Making it in the Bay: Comparing home prices in San Jose vs. Portland, Austin
More than one in four — 26.9% — of homes in the Portland area sold for more than their asking price last year, according to a new Zillow analysis.

NBC Bay Area in California takes a look at how far your money will take you in the South Bay housing market versus two cities popular with people leaving the Bay Area, including Portland.

STAYING IN THE KNOW

Stalking Awareness: What is Stalking?
January marked Stalking Awareness Month, providing an opportunity for us to remind our members of the prevalence of stalking, and why this is a crime that cannot be ignored.

The Stalking Prevention, Awareness and Resource Center, or SPARC, identifies stalking as   a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. According to SPARC:

Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached and/or threatened, including through technology.
• Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of serious violence.
• In 85% of cases where an intimate partner (i.e., boyfriend or husband) attempted to murder his partner, there was stalking in the year prior to the attack.
• Though millions of men and women are stalked every year in the United States, the crime of stalking is often misunderstood, minimized and/or ignored.


We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors.


MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

Oregon Housing Economic Summit
We were excited to sponsor and attend this year's Oregon Housing Economic Summit where more than 400 attendees heard from bankers, builders and Realtors, as well as economists, local policy leaders, legislators and fellow industry experts on solutions to the housing crisis.

Missed this year's event? Head here for a recap and save the date for next year's summit, set for Jan. 14, 2021!
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS

From the Lobby: Session Update from Molly McGrew
Since the start of the short session for the Oregon State Legislature Feb. 3, I’ve been hard at work tracking bills, connecting with legislators and advocating for Multifamily NW’s members.

The legislature is in its second week and rapidly approaching the first chamber deadline by Friday, Feb. 14. This means that all bills in their chamber of origin must move out of committees before this date in order to make it to the floor for a vote.

My Housing Story
My Housing Story is a regular feature of Oregon Housing News that comes from member submissions.

Members share their experiences with recent law changes and navigating the current state of property management in the Northwest. We then publish these stories anonymously.

This month's featured story highlights the effects of the FAIR Ordinance on small property owners.

__________________________________________
I am writing to express my concern about the new screening and security deposit ordinance. My family of four purchased a four-unit apartment building two blocks from my house in 2016. We did this because my oldest son has autism and I had to quit my job for a decade to raise him. The apartment purchase was intended to catch us up financially to help pay for his future care.

I personally rebuilt all four units from the ground up working 14-hour days for six months outside in the ice and snowstorm of 2017. This included replacing hundreds of sheets of plywood and thousands of pounds of concrete at my physical expense. 

The building came out great and I have wonderful tenants who I am personally in contact with and spend much time attending to their needs. Last fall one of my prior tenants committed suicide in their unit. My other tenants expressed concern about the selection of future tenants. 

Over the two years since I purchased the building, the screening tools available to me to select quality tenants have greatly diminished, leaving just two to protect the safety of my other tenants. The first is the ability to screen tenants for criminal background and the second is the ability to require three times the rental income. They aren’t perfect or much, but they are what I have left. 

This ordinance restricts these last tools leaving me unable to effectively uphold my responsibility to my existing tenants. As a result, I will likely sell my building to be turned into condominiums for sale. This would be a loss for my tenants and the future of my autistic son. 

This ordinance is a blunt instrument that does not honor the sense of social responsibility by Portlanders to provide housing to those in need. I ask that our City Council reconsider these sweeping changes before their implementation.
Upcoming Events
February 2020
February 14, 2020

Multifamily NW Welcomes Jeffrey S. Bennett, Attorney at Law, Warren Allen LLP, for a brownbag on c reating and using LLCs, corporations and other entities.
February 20, 2020

SB 608 is now law. Learn what that means for you and your property. Multifamily NW Welcomes Leah Sykes, Greenspoon Marder, to Bend for this educational event.
February 17, 2020

Multifamily NW welcomes landlord/tenant law attorney Leah Sykes to give an in-depth view of Portland’s new FAIR ordinances for this two-part series over Feb. 17 and 18. Click here for more information on FAIR Part 2.
February 20, 2020

In property management, communication is wide ranging from managing residents to fostering relationships with coworkers and vendors. Glenn West, MA, will share tips and tricks for successful communication. 
February 19, 2020

Multifamily NW Welcomes Laura Rosales for this installment of our Certified Apartment Manager series.
March 4, 2020

Landlord Study Hall is a monthly evening education series for the busy landlord with a day job. 
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