City Council approves $60 fee on all rental units
The Portland City Council voted Wednesday to approve a $60 fee on all rental units in the city. The city expects the fee to raise at least $3 million a year.
The fee passed 3 to 1, with Commissioner Amanda Fritz citing concerns about the number of new regulations on landlords as a reason for her no vote. She also questioned leveling a $60 fee on mobile homes as well as apartments.Landlords argued against it, characterizing it as a regressive tax on housing.
The fee will provide an annual source of funding for the city's Rental Services Office, a new division within the Portland Housing Bureau.
To date, the office has employed just a handful of staff and has relied heavily on short-term funding. Mayor Ted Wheeler pledged to create the office during his 2015 campaign and directed the Housing Bureau to come up with a permanent source of funding for it in his budget this year.
The office helps answer questions about local housing law for tenants, landlords and the City Council. It also provides grants to groups like the Community Alliance of Tenants, which provides a renters' rights hotline.
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