Bill to Increase Rent Control in Oregon is Approved by Committee
On Monday( April 3, 2023), a measure that would limit annual rent increases by Oregon landlords passed out of committee. The present rent ceiling of 7% plus CPI index would be lowered to 5% plus CPI index under Senate Bill 611.
The law would set a maximum rise of 10% independent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which fluctuates with inflation. Before being changed, the measure would have limited future raises to only 3% plus inflation, for a maximum of 8%.
On Monday, senators voted along party lines to bring the bill to a vote. Several tenant safeguards were removed from the original draft. Landlords continue to oppose the law even after the amendments.
A modified version of SB 611 has moved from committee to the Senate floor for a vote, according to a tweet from Christina Giardinelli-
A slimmed down version of SB 611 passed committee with amendments and is headed to the Senate floor for a vote. The amended bill would adjust the base rent cap from its current 7% + CPI to 5%+ CPI with a max of 10% regardless of inflation. pic.twitter.com/07I14SRRhe
— Christina Giardinelli (@c_giardinelli) April 3, 2023
“It sends a signal to investors that Oregon is not open for business,” said Molly McGrew, a lobbyist for the landlord association Multifamily Northwest. “Washington state did not pass their rent control law that they had up and instead went full speed on addressing the supply issues. And I think that is something that Oregonians need us to do as well.”
Tenant advocacy organizations are behind the measure because they believe some action is better than none. “We want to thank Sen. [WInsvey] Campos and Sen. [Kayse] Jama for their work moving SB 611 forward. Even this narrowed bill will help the millions of Oregonians who rent their homes,” reads a statement provided by Stable Homes for Oregon Families.
“We strongly urge that the full Senate listen to Oregon renters who are feeling the squeeze of our state’s housing crisis and quickly pass SB 611 as soon as possible.” According to the most recent point-in-time census, the number of persons in Oregon who are sleeping outdoors has grown, giving the state one of the worst homelessness rates in the nation.
Tenants in Oregon are concerned that rising rent may force more people out of the state. I have four children and live in a rental. Lucy Presino, of Independence, Oregon, stated, “I am a renter and a parent to four kids. I have experienced eviction due to being short on rent, and once again I have a realistic fear of the possibility of facing that same situation.”
Lucy Presino, of Independence, Oregon, stated, “I am a renter and a parent to four kids. I have experienced eviction due to being short on rent, and once again I have a realistic fear of the possibility of facing that same situation.”
Tenants in newer buildings, now free from Oregon’s rent limit, have also lost rights due to the legislation. A facility must have received its initial certificate of occupancy within the last 15 years to avoid the rent limit rules in Oregon. The amendment eliminated protections from the original measure that would have reduced that number to three.
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A provision that landlords provide tenants three months’ rent in the event of a no-cause eviction was also made away with. The current norm for relocation assistance is one month’s rent. Legislators have explained the changes as an effort to find the middle ground.
“Both housing providers and renters came to the table,” said Sen Jama. “Sometimes you just don’t agree.” Jessica Israel has filed a complaint with HUD over a rent increase she received, claiming that it was based on her race. Her building is exempt from the existing 14.6% rent limit since COs were granted during the last 15 years.
“Less than 15 years old doesn’t mean a Trump Tower luxury building, you know. I received a rent increase of 32%,” she said. “I realized other residents (of the same building and owner) had 15%, and I was the only one who got 32.” She thinks the bill’s watered-down form is just “bending to whim so that everyone can score some political points,” as she put it.
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