Oregon Senate Bill Aims To Set Rent Control Limits On Landlords

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signaled her support for the bill. Brown believes those ideas “are innovative and will give renters some peace of mind,” said spokeswoman Kate Kondayen to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Powerful house and senate leaders have lined up behind the bill, which looks to pass in this legislative session.

“Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Senator Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) have innovative proposals that will give renters some peace of mind.  Oregon families are counting on us. They are counting on us so they don’t have to make a choice between paying the rent and staying home with their newborn,” the governor said.

House Speaker Kotek proposed in 2017 to eliminate no-cause evictions and lift the state’s 1985 ban on rent control, allowing cities to create their own rent-control policies. That effort failed in the Senate after passing in the House.

“We need to make progress here,” Kotek told OregonLive. “So, we needed to have a bill that could get support in the Senate.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has endorsed the concept of the bill but said he still has some questions about various aspects of the bill, including how it will affect affordable housing. On balance, however, he supports the Legislature pursuing it, although he said he will reserve final judgment until he sees the final version.

Oregon Senate Bill 608

  • Prohibits a landlord from terminating month-to-month tenancy without cause after 12 months of occupancy. Provides exception for certain tenancies on building or lot used by landlord as residence.
  • Allows a landlord to terminate tenancy with 90 days’ written notice and payment of one month’s rent under certain conditions. Exempts landlord managing four or fewer units from payment of one month’s rent.
  • Provides that fixed-term tenancy becomes month-to-month tenancy upon ending date if not renewed or terminated.
  • Allows landlord to not renew fixed-term tenancy if tenant receives three lease-violation warnings within 12 months during term and landlord gives 90 days’ notice.
  • Limits rent increases for residential tenancies to one per year.
  • Limits maximum annual rent increase to 7 percent above annual change in consumer price index.
  • Requires Oregon Department of Administrative Services to publish maximum annual rent increase percentage.
  • Declares emergency, effective on passage.

Read the Senate Bill here.

“Just-cause [evictions]and rent control need to go hand and hand for either to be effective,” Nicole B. Montojo, a housing research analyst at the University of California, Berkeley, told Willamette Week.

A landlord subject to rent control but not to restrictions on evictions could kick a tenant out for no reason and raise the rent, Montojo explains. “If you had a just-cause [bill]but no rent control, the landlord could just raise the rent and force someone out.”

Resources:

Everything You Need to Know About a Rent Control Bill That Oregon’s Power Brokers in Salem Have Lined Up Behind

Oregon lawmakers to hear bill on rent control, among others in legislative session

Oregon lawmakers propose unorthodox approach to rent control

Wheeler supports rent control, infill growth plan

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