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ENB-18.44 - Income-Based Waiver

Administrative Rule Adopted by Office of Neighborhood Involvement
ARB-ENB-18.44

 
Category: Neighborhood Inspections
 
Effective Date: April 27, 2004
 
Responsible Bureau Section:
Neighborhood Inspections
111 SW Columbia St, Suite 670
Portland Oregon 97201
503-823-7906
 
BACKGROUND:
Title 29 of the Portland City Code is known as the Property Maintenance Code.  Among other things, this code sets minimum standards for maintaining residential properties within the City of Portland.  This code also includes provisions for citing both nuisance and housing maintenance violations. To gain compliance with this code, Title 29 allows for the charging of Code Enforcement Fines on properties that fail to comply with the cited regulations in a timely manner.  To prevent accumulating fines from causing undue hardship and/or when extenuation circumstances may impede timely code correction, Section 29.60.100 authorizes the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) to adopt exceptions.  This waiver is one of the exceptions that have been adopted.  A waiver policy defines the criteria and time frame for suspending Code Enforcement Fines.  It also identifies conditions under which a waiver exception will be cancelled and fines re-instated.
 
PURPOSE:
The purpose of the Income-Based Waiver is to assist property owners experiencing financial hardship a 12-month opportunity to refurbish or rehabilitate their property by suspending monthly Code Enforcement Fines for 12 months.
 
APPLICATION:
A waiver application filled out by the property owner, or referral from a housing inspector.  See requirements to qualify, documentation of total household income must also be provided.
 
FEE:
There is no application fee for an Income Based Waiver.
 
APPEAL:
If the property owner wishes to appeal the denial of a waiver they must request the appeal within fifteen (15) days of the written denial.  The appeal must be made in writing and submitted to Neighborhood Inspections, 111 SW Columbia St, Suite 670, PortlandOR97201.  The property owner will have the opportunity to present additional information during this appeal.  A written determination will be mailed to the owner.  This determination can be appealed to the Code Hearings Office within ten (10) business days of its issuance.
 
POLICY:
The Office of Neighborhood Involvement will grant from the date the property qualifies a 12-month suspension of Code Enforcement Fines if the property owner meets all the requirements listed below. The waiver is not granted automatically.  It is necessary to meet all the requirements.  Upon approval  of the waiver request monthly Code Enforcement Fines will be suspended beginning with the first billing cycle after the date ONI received the completed waiver application. 
                             
A.  Requirements to Qualify for an Income-Based Waiver
All of the following requirements must be met to qualify for the Income-Based Waiver:
1. All fire, life and safety violations cited at the property have been corrected and approved by the inspector or the property is vacant with no significant fire, life and safety violations on the exterior of the property;
 
2. The property is clear of any other code violations administered by Neighborhood Inspections (Nuisance, Disabled Vehicles, Additional Housing violations, Re-occupancy prior to approval);
 
3. The dwelling is a one or two family residence and is occupied by the owner or vacant;
 
4. The total household income for the preceding calendar year does not exceed 80% of the adjusted household median income for the Portland area (as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development);
 
5. Documentation of total household income, including copies of the most recent federal income tax return, a Statement of Benefits from the Social Security Administration or other official income documentation must be provided for the property owner and all adults using the property as their primary residence.  Please note that if rooms/units are being rented at the property only the “rental” portion paid to the owner from the renters’ is required.
B. General Information
1. Upon approval of an Income-Based Waiver, monthly Code Enforcement Fines will be suspended for 12 months beginning with the first billing cycle after the property owner qualifies.
 
2. Income-Based Waivers are granted to qualified property owners for one year with possible annual renewal;
 
3. Income-based Waivers are not transferable;
C. Waiver Renewal Process
Reminder letters for Income-Based Waiver renewals are mailed to property owners at least one month prior to the expiration of the waiver.
1. To be granted a renewal of this waiver:
a.   updated income information is required  prior to the extension of the waiver being granted, and
b.      the updated information must be returned to ONI prior to the end of the waiver period, and
c.      updated inspection within 3 months of renewal date;
2. The total household income for the preceding calendar year does not exceed 80% of the adjusted household median income for the Portland area (as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development);
 
3. Documentation of total household income, including copies of the most recent federal income tax return, a Statement of Benefits from the Social Security Administration or other official income documentation for the property owner and all adults using the property as their primary residence, has been provided.  Please notethat if rooms/units are being rented at the property only the “rental” portion paid to the owner from the renters’ is required.
 
4. The property owner must have made sufficient progress in correcting the violations or has met with the Housing inspector to determine an appropriate course of action regarding the violations.
D. Waiver Cancellation Policy
Income-Based Waivers will be cancelled immediately if any of the conditions listed below occur during the waiver period:
1. If the property is posted for New/additional violations of any code administered by ONI twice at the property outside of a 30 day period, after the date the waiver approval letter was mailed to the property owner; for example, the property is cited for a nuisance violations and the housing maintenance conditions worsen;
 
2. If the property is cited for nuisance conditions under Title 29 Nuisance Code, the owner has 15 days to correct the violations.  If the violations are not corrected, resulting in abatement by City Contractors, the waiver will be cancelled.
 
3. The property is no longer owner-occupied or vacant;
 
4. Work is being done at the property without the required permits;
 
5. If an owner has not reapplied by the expiration date of the waiver, the waiver will be cancelled and fines imposed;
 
6. There has been an ownership change.
NOTE: If the waiver is cancelled for any of the above reasons, it cannot be
re-activated until the issue is resolved and approved by the housing inspector.
 
A cancellation letter will be mailed to the owner of the property and monthly Code Enforcement Fines will start with the next the next billing cycle after the cancellation.
 



 
HISTORY
Effective April 27, 2004
Filed for inclusion in PPD September 30, 2004.
Revised and filed in PPD November 16, 2004
Revised June 6, 2006 and filed in PPD June 16, 2006.