About us

We are ordinary people who became landlords for practical reasons back when it was actually a good idea.  We had a small house in Portland, Oregon, but were living in Central Oregon.  The property had been in the family since our ancestor bought the land and built a home for his family.  Thinking that property is a good investment, and under the assumption that renting it out would help us keep the land in the family, we began renting it out.


After a couple of successful rentals to tenants, we were looking for a new one.  A family member was dating a person who was looking for a place to live, and on the strength of that recommendation, we agreed to rent to him.  We got a rental agreement form from an office stationery store, had the tenant sign it, and thought we were in pretty good shape.  And it's true, we were....  over a decade ago.


Meanwhile, the tenant turned out to be difficult, and then worse than difficult.  He has refused to update the Rental Agreement, has made many unauthorized (and undesirable) changes and alterations to the property... including locking us out by changing the locks.  Turns out our rental agreement doesn't explicitly forbid this, so not easy to address.   As are a host of other issues.


Then he decided to stop paying rent.


And we found out just how expensive it was going to be to get him out of there.


Tens of thousands of dollars.


Welcome to landlording in Portland. 

Rights: Landlords vs Tenants

Portland has been rated by Sparks as the #1 WORST CITY in the U.S. to be a landlord.


For starters, virtually the only ways to end an tenancy is through the eviction process, or by paying your tenant thousands of dollars to move out. 

Decided to live in the property yourself?  Tough luck. 

Want to sell the property?  Cough it up, sucker.


Portland has a host of free resources for tenants, including access to free attorneys, rental assistance, and different standards and rules in court.


Landlords, on the other hand, have very few resources available.  The majority of attorneys charge $550 an hour, and one attorney actually charged their client $11K to prepare for First Appearance.  Many attorneys will take your money but then proceed to lose in court, because the laws are so complex and have changed so much in the past few years.  The attorneys who regularly appear in Landlord-Tenant court are, for the most part, employed by large property management companies.  Those firms are rarely interested in small landlords as clients.  They're plenty busy already.


You need to decide whether you are willing to risk operating at a net loss in order to provide services to a tenant who may or may not pay rent.


If you are still interested in proceeding as a landlord, be sure to read up on:

ORS 90 - ORS 105 - PCC 30.01.085 - SB 608 - HB 2001

If after reading all of this you are ready to go (and this is just for starters), be sure to hire a reputable property manager.  Be aware that most tenants who've been evicted have had their evictions expunged from court records, so many potential tenants look pretty good on paper even after they stiffed their previous landlord.  And there are precious few ways to legally sort out the good from the bad potential tenants.  You pretty much have to rent to the very first person who shows up and meets a very low threshold. 

You may not be able to avoid renting to a deadbeat.


And even if your tenant pays rent, your ability to increase rent is

severely curtailed by rent control laws.

Pitfalls in Portland

Oregon Landlord-Tenant laws are extremely complex in general.

In Portland, they are ludicrous.


For example, we would have to give our tenant $4200 in Relocation Assistance

to move out, then wait 90 days (during which he can live in the residence, demand repairs and maintenance, and continue to accrue more months without paying rent).

At the end of this time, when he doesn't move out, we would have to start the FED process which takes 6-8 weeks more of free rent for our tenant, and will cost us thousands more in attorney's fees... if we are lucky enough to even find an attorney who will bother with a small landlord.  Most won't.  And representing yourself pro se in court is a recipe for disaster.  The judges will comb through your paperwork looking for any small technicality under which they can reset the clock for your holdover tenant.


It's like being trapped in Groundhog's Day.  A very, very expensive Groundhog's Day.

How did it get so bad?

Portland is trying to solve its housing crisis on the backs of landlords.  


The housing crisis is rooted in systemic issues that aren't going to be solved by bankrupting property owners.  But until city officials figure this out, small landlords are disappearing every day, and many rental properties are being pulled off the market in the interest of self-preservation. 


While we genuinely feel for the plight of renters who have been priced out of Portland's housing market, punishing landlords isn't the solution. 


And becoming a landlord if you aren't one yet is a terrible idea.