PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - In the midst of a booming rental market, the City of Portland has passed a new tax that landlords will pay on rentals. It will fund a program to track the number of rental homes and the cost of each.
Landlords will now pay a $60 fee each year for every unit they have.
The city says in 2017, there were about 121,000 rentals - of that, roughly 20,000 are considered affordable housing and won't qualify for the new fee. Tenant advocates like Portland Tenants United say this is something they have been pushing for.
“You think about cars, they are all registered, right, and we have been doing that for a long time so we know how many cars are on the road and who is driving them and we don’t know that about our landlords," Margot Black with Portland Tenants United said.
She says right now there is no solid data the city can point to when it comes to the rental market and solving the housing crisis.
“You will notice that from one source to next or one news station to the next how much rents have increased or how much the average rents changes just kind of depending on who you ask, basically," Black said.
She adds this new registry will be a tool to help.
Opponents, like Multifamily NW, say the new $60 tax is not necessary and the cost will be passed onto renters.
“This is a $3.6 rent increase on the city of Portland residents and tenants," Vice President of Multifamily NW Dan Mason said.
The group says landlords are already dealing with increasing costs from maintenance and utilities.
“Property management companies and ownership are not absorbing those costs, they are passing those on to those residents and those tenants so that is the equivalent of a rent increase that impacts them," Mason said.
The council passed the new fee in a three-to-one vote. Councilor Amanda Fritz was the lone no vote.
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