It’s a good time to own rental property in Portland, Oregon. With a rental housing vacancy rate of just 3.4%, this tight housing market means that you have more high quality renters to choose from.
Self-Managing Your Rental: Choosing Tenants, And SO MUCH MORE
But how do you choose amongst applicants? The answer is easy if you’ve hired a property management company to manage your rental property. But if you’re self-managing your rental, you should think about developing a clear tenant selection process. Fair housing laws require that you not make any rental decision based on several categories, including race, gender, national origin, familial status, and sexual orientation. And it’s best to document your tenant selection process in the event that there’s a Fair Housing Act issue.
And what else do you need to know if you’re self-managing your rental?
Based on our experience, the most successful self-managers have the following qualities:
- Time. While self-managing a rental property isn’t all-consuming, it does take some effort, and having a flexible schedule can be especially helpful when you get emergency repair requests in the middle of the day or night.
- Handy with repairs. Simply put, it’s great if you can fix stuff, whether it’s leaky toilet, broken lock, or replacing rotten wood on a deck.
- Good dealing with people. As a landlord you’ll need to interview tenants, reject tenants, and sometimes evict tenants. Sometimes you feel good about renting to some excited tenants, other times you might feel uneasy about issuing eviction notices. If you have more than one rental, you may deal with tenant complaints about their neighbors and other issues.
- Organized. Being able to set up a filing system, stay organized, and respond in a timely way to tenant issues is important.
- Familiar with landlord-tenant rules in Portland. Federal, state, and local rules apply to the management of rental properties. Not only should you be familiar with fair housing requirements, you also need to know other landlord-tenant requirements, for notice and entry, security deposits, smoke detectors, evictions, and a whole host of other stuff. Also, you need to be willing to stay up-to-date. For example, as of November 13, 2015, the Portland City Council now requires landlords to give 90-days notice for rent raises and no-cause evictions.
Resources for Rental Owners in Portland
Fortunately, there are several good resources available to rental owners in Portland, so if you decide to self-manage rather than hire a property management company, there’s still hope. Here are a few:
- City of Portland Landlord Training Program Manual
- Oregon State Bar Association Landlord & Tenant Law
- NOLO Landlord-Tenant Laws in Oregon
- Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Laws
In addition to having online resources available, you should also make sure that you have the name of an experienced landlord-tenant attorney in case you have questions that the Internet can’t answer for you. When it comes to matters of law, having an attorney you trust can be critical.
What About Hiring a Property Manager?
Maybe you’re not handy, work full-time, have a family, like to take lengthy vacations, or you just don’t want to deal with managing your rental. If you decide that you’d rather pay a fee to have a professional property manager take care of your rental property, it’s important that you hire a licensed property manager with a proven reputation. Stay tuned for more information about property management laws, licensing, and how to choose a property management company.