The election season is over, finally! Now what? How can you effect change in your city and in our state? There are many things you can do, but start here:
1. Join a local chapter. Your voice is stronger when you are one of many. When we talk about members in Oregon, we need to be able to count you. It’s important that we have accurate numbers not just of owners and managers, but how many units you represent.
2. Get active and stay active. You need to have the most current information and you need to know what steps to take to and when; to be able to influence your local representatives. Getting active means going to monthly meetings and actually reading newsletters and emails.
3. Help your local chapter board; maybe even serve on the board. Every local chapter needs more help. It’s true that about 10% of the members of each chapter do about 90% of the work. Maybe you can send out emails, update lists, help with the newsletter or even become an instructor for classes, greet people at meetings.
4. Talk to everyone you know and help educate the public. You are the best person to help the public understand the true nature of the rental housing industry. You know what you do to provide quality housing for tenants. So, talk about it! What will be the effect of Rent Control? Will rent control cause you to charge higher rents? Will you change your business practice of only raising rents on a yearly basis and then only when your expenses increase? How will prohibiting No-Cause Notices change the way you do business? Will you still be willing to take a risk on a less than “perfect tenant”? Will you be able to charge a smaller deposit or allow payments on deposits for a tenant that has great rental history but spotty credit? Will you be forced to charge higher deposits because you know that you will have to serve a with cause notice if something goes wrong? Will you be forced to serve a “border-line problem tenant” with a 30 Day with Cause Notice and damage a tenants’ rental history?
5. Become an active learner. As a rental property owner/manager you have a responsibility to be educated. You should know Landlord/Tenant law. We often hear, “Really? When did that law change?” Unfortunately, the answer is usually many years ago. The complaints from tenants about serving notices incorrectly, or telling tenants that they have to move out in 30 days, when the law gives them 60 days, causes lawmakers to think that they need to make more laws and add fines for improper or unfair business practices. Get educated and encourage every rental owner you know to attend classes and seminars.
What can you do? How can you really have an effect on your community? You don’t need to have hours of free time or be an expert public speaker. Become a member of your local chapter and help it become strong and vital. Talk to everyone you come in contact with, and make sure that your understanding of the law is current.