The City of Eugene enacted the Rental Housing Code in 2005. Ostensibly, the Code was created to protect tenants by creating minimum standards for rental properties and enforcing those standards through a complaint driven process. On the surface, who could argue with a program that will force “bad” landlords into doing there duty to provide quality housing? But the causal relationship between government intervention and the rise in homelessness and affordable housing cannot be ignored.

The creation of “minimum standards” cannot be decided by a committee, but only truly decided by the tenant. Each tenant must way the value of the product and the commitment of the landlord to continue to provide that product. We all make this decision when making purchases. These “minimum standards” limit the choices the tenants have in the pool of available rentals by raising the “quality” and therefore price. Many tenants financial situation dictates that they can afford only the most basic housing. But since the housing code will eliminate a lot of this affordable housing the tenants is left with housing they cannot afford. This leaves them with charities from non-profits, government housing programs, and when that fails- homelessness.

The Housing Code itself will not directly effect any Empire customers, as we are educated enough to know that maintaining “minimum standards” is not a path to financial security. However, the Housing Code has far reaching effects, since the cost of housing will increase due to the pressure put on housing from lack of supply and regulation such as the Eugene Housing Code. Inevitably, the talk will turn to rent control. The effect of which will be to create a further lack in housing and exacerbating the lack of affordable housing.

The upcoming Housing Board meeting is your opportunity to be heard. I urge available ROA members to submit written testimony to the Eugene Housing Code Advisory board or the attend the board meeting on Tuesday the 17th at 7:30pm at Harris Hall located at  125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene. Please sign up to give oral testimony.

This article was originally written for the Rental Owners Association of Lane County and adapted for EPM.