Portland City Council voted Wednesday to create an inventory of rental housing in the city.
Landlords will now be required to list the addresses of their rental properties when they submit their annual business license tax filing.
“Quality data in our rental system is something that tenants and landlords have been asking for, and in the absence of this system, there has been no single source of reliable quality data,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
The mayor said creating the inventory will make it easier for the city to conduct health and safety inspections and to track whether policies meant to protect renters are working, like the city’s policy that requires landlords to pay tenants if they evict them without a cause.
All landlords must register, including those who only rent out a single unit. The city’s revenue division says it will use property tax records to find people who own more than one home and to notify them of the registration requirement.
The requirement will go into effect for the 2018 tax year, meaning landlords will be required to register as part of their city tax filings in April 2019. In the first year, they will not face a penalty for noncompliance. In future years, the penalty is $500.
The city estimates the registry will cost $648,000 to establish in the first year. It plans to cover the initial cost using general fund tax dollars. In future years, it plans to charge landlords a fee to fund the program.
Seattle, Eugene and Gresham have similar rental registration systems.