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Putting Vacant, High-End Apartments to Use

As Portland residents scramble to find affordable rentals, many of the high-end apartments are being left vacant, forcing many building owners to get creative. Owners have started listing the vacant units online as vacation rentals to make up for the lost revenue.

The Yard, on Northeast 2nd Avenue at the east end of Burnside Bridge, is waiting to lease 284 apartments. After easily renting 57 of the total units (allocated specifically for affordable housing for the tax and fee credits) the remaining, full priced units are struggling to rent with 74 percent of them still vacant. The owners have turned to vacation sites such as Airbnb & Vacasa, offering 18 fully furnished units to be listed for daily or weekly stays at a couple hundred dollars a night.

Park Avenue West, another high-rise apartment building off of Southwest 9th Ave, is also following suite.

While this tactic is trending, Mike Leifield with the Bureau of Development Services states that most of these types of buildings don’t have the proper permit to act as a hotel. They have the right to move forward with such a model, but need to prep their buildings to accommodate for visitors who are not familiar with the building. This requires fire sprinklers, corridor egress and alarms among other precautions.

Most of us were hoping that these vacancies and desperate actions might bring a much needed decrease in price, but Portland has been below a 5 percent vacancy for the past eight years and it doesn’t look like it will be increasing anytime soon with landlords finding these work arounds.


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