Oregon Public Health Institute and its partners completed a health impact assessment of the City of Portland’s rental housing inspections program. This HIA was funded by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The HIA assessed the relative health and health equity impacts of the two different rental housing inspections models in Portland. The standard inspections model that the city has used for many years is a complaint-driven process in which complaints by renters lead to inspections of their units.

In 2009, the City piloted an “enhanced” inspections model that is initiated by complaints, but can also trigger inspections of additional rental units. This enhanced model was proposed by the Quality Rental Housing Workgroup (QRHW). Comprised of landlord, tenant, housing and health stakeholders, QRHW addressed shortcomings in the City’s standard inspections model to be more effective in working with landlords and tenants to improve the quality of the City’s rental housing stock and its ability to support the health of Portland’s renters, particularly low-income and minority households that are already at higher risk of poor health.

In order to assess the relative impacts of the two inspections models, the HIA used existing housing inspections tracking data that was collected by the Portland Bureau of Development Services, as well as existing research on the relationships between housing and health.

Findings and recommendations can be found in the:

The Steering Committee for this HIA included Representatives from:

  • Metro Multifamily Housing Association
  • Rental Housing Association of Greater Portland
  • Portland Bureau of Development Services
  • Community Alliance of Tenants
  • Multnomah County Health Department
  • Portland Housing Bureau

*The opinions expressed in the HIA Report and related documents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Health Impact Project, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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