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Rising rents and low vacancy rates in Portland’s rental market have increased risks for low- and moderate-income tenants; therefore, the City is not proposing a requirement for landlords to obtain a home energy score at time of lease. However, if a landlord puts a single-family rental unit on the market for sale, the proposed requirement would be triggered (see “For Sellers of Single-family Homes”).
Advocates for housing affordability have expressed concerns about landlords passing on the costs of energy assessments to tenants, potentially exacerbating problems with rising rates of eviction and displacement. However, equity advocates also recognize the benefits energy efficiency delivers to tenants and low-income homeowners by reducing the amount they pay each month in energy bills, improving indoor air quality and reducing street noise. Energy-efficient homes are quieter, healthier and more comfortable. Energy efficiency remains a highly cost-effective strategy to keep housing affordable and durable over the long-term.
BPS will work with stakeholders to better understand the dynamics in the single-family rental market and establish metrics and targets to monitor over time. Example metrics include rental housing supply and housing affordability. Timing also would be considered in conjunction with other housing affordability policies.
The City may ask Council to establish a community-based oversight committee to work with BPS on developing this aspect of the policy over a specific period of time. This approach has delivered positive outcomes on other BPS projects.