As a property owner, you have many things to worry about: evaluating the rental market, preparing and maintaining your rental homes, and making sure your residents are in compliance with their leases. Although these are all important details to focus on, it’s a good idea to make time for a few “big picture” items as well – like city council meetings.
The city council meeting is a staple of local regulation. Property owners need to understand that city ordinances play a big role in how they operate their rental homes. Property owners should attend the city council meetings in the town or towns where their rental homes are located. Getting proactively involved in your city council meetings can make a big difference in how your city regulates rental properties, as well as give you a decided advantage in your efforts to boost your property’s value.
There are many functions of the city council meeting that directly impact a property’s value. Zoning, planning, construction, and other elements can have either a negative or a positive effect on property values and various aspects of property ownership.
For example, zoning decisions can greatly impact a property’s value. In developed residential areas, zoning helps protect and promote property values. If, however, your rental home is close to an area being considered for a zoning change, say to multi-unit or even commercial zoning, it could potentially raise the value of your property or, alternatively, possibly impede your ability to rent the home to quality residents. City councils also impact whether short term leases will be allowed and other lease type regulations.
Planning and construction can have an equally serious impact on property values. The quality and availability of roads, public transportation, schools, and utilities can all affect a property’s value. If your rental home is adjacent to a developing area, new construction may help raise property values by bringing in more people, more money, new schools, and other amenities. If, however, there isn’t enough demand to sell these new homes, it might have a negative impact on your property values. Few people will spend money on an old house in need of repairs when they can buy a brand new one nearby for not too much more.
For those of us that operate within the City of Portland, we are all to familiar with the impact a city council can have on our rental properties. Over the last several years, we have seen the City of Portland City Council enact a number of ordinances aimed at renter protection, most of which come at a cost directly on the shoulders of the landlords. Even when these protections are well intended, we have seen the impact of unintended consequences, such as small mom and pop landlords leaving the City of Portland, only to have their single family rental properties purchased by buyers who intend to occupy the home as their primary residence. This leaves one less unit to rent, cause a shortage in supply and a subsequent rise in rent as demand continues to increase.
If you are a landlord that doesn’t operate within the City of Portland, don’t think that it “can’t happen to y0u”. Pay attention to the agenda for City Council meetings and attend, speak up and let your voice be heard. It Matters!!!
The important thing to take away is that the more involved you are, the more impact you’ll have in the regulatory changes that will impact your property’s value.
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