Best Websites for Finding a Rental in Portland

Renting in Portland is not as easy as it once was. The rental market has been exceptionally tight for several years and it seems to be getting even tighter. Where once a family could find an affordable house to rent in the Hawthorne district, those homes have largely been renovated and sold.

But don’t despair: There are still plenty of fantastic rental opportunities ready to be discovered. The following tips and websites will make your Portland rental search quick and simple:

Renting in Portland

Like in other metro areas around the country, housing costs have risen in Portland in recent years, contributing to the city’s competitive rental market. Rental properties often lease within days of being listed.

But Portland also offers a terrific variety of neighborhoods to choose from, each with its own unique vibe. Start your rental search by getting to know them. You’ll find a range of rental rates as well as diverse housing styles and local amenities.

The clearer you are about your needs in a home (location, transportation, size, cost), the easier your rental search and move will be. Be prepared to make quick decisions and have what you need for the application process before viewing rentals. (Get a jumpstart on organizing your move.)


Tried and true, Craigslist is one of the best resources for finding a place to rent in Portland. You can narrow down your search with criteria for the number of bedrooms or bathrooms and the price range you are seeking. Apply additional filters like apartment vs house, parking, wheelchair accessibility, or pets.

If you’re interested in sharing or looking for roommates, Rooms & Shares lists wide-ranging rental opportunities from furnished rooms to unfurnished studio spaces.

Craigslist’s “Favorites” function lets you click the best candidates to save and sort. Don’t wait too long, though. Once you have a list of three to five candidates, go ahead and contact them to arrange a viewing. The market is tight, so act fast if you like a listing.

This popular site features apartment complexes and single-family homes for rent in the Portland metro area. Its interface is very robust and includes useful features such as slideshows and 3D tours. Apply search filters including number of bedrooms, price range, housing type, and amenities.

Rental listings include photos, detailed descriptions, deposit information, maps and more. If you are interested in a particular apartment community this is a great site, as it details the availabilities. allows you to click on available units and review a floorplan.

Zillow’s website is primarily location-focused. Use their interactive map to explore available rentals in your favorite parts of town. It’s interesting to zoom in on your most desired neighborhoods to see what the overall rental market looks like.

 Zillow is also a great place to find a single-family home to rent. Each listing provides a good deal of information for prospective renters, including bed/bath numbers, photographs, and school information.

You can also save listings for later review with your partner or family. Be sure to follow up on your favorites as soon as you can. Rental space goes very quickly in Portland these days.

Bonus Tip: Prepare a Cover Letter

Especially when seeking a single-family home to rent, you may want to be prepared with a cover letter for the owner that details why you and your family are great tenants. You might tell something about your kids, your career, and your goals for the time you plan to spend renting. You likely will not be the only prospective renters, so anything you can do to set yourself apart will be helpful.

Renting to Own in Portland

If you’re moving to Portland with a long-term goal of buying a home but the timing isn’t quite right, you might want to consider rent-to-own.

Renting to own includes a clause in the rental agreement that provides the option or obligation to buy after a specific lease period. A portion of monthly rental payments can count towards a down payment. Rent-to-own agreements require an upfront, nonrefundable security fee of 1-10% of the purchase price.

Look for brokerages or programs with dedicated rent-to-own programs or talk to an experienced real estate agent to help you find lease-option or lease-purchase listings in Portland.

Finding a Rental in Portland

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