Thursday, January 17, 2019

Report: Rent Control Appears Set to "Sail Through" Oregon Legislature in 2019

Willamette Week reports that Senate Bill 608 appears likely to pass this year.

Rent Increase Restrictions 
The bill limits rent increases in buildings that are more than 15 years old to 7% plus inflation and restricts no cause evictions after a tenant's first 12 months in a rental.

The allowable percentage for rent increases in a given year will be calculated and released by September 30th the previous year by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. If a landlord raises rent by more than that amount, the landlord will be required to compensate the tenant with the equivalent of 3 months’ rent plus damages.

No-Cause Evictions
No-cause evictions can still be issued with 30 days’ notice during the first year of tenancy or with 10 days’ notice during a week to week tenancy. After the first year of a fixed-term tenancy, there are specific cases where a landlord can issue a no-cause eviction, as long as the landlord provides 30 days’ notice accompanied by the equivalent of one month’s rent.

The landlord may do this if they:
  • Intend to demolish a unit or convert it to a nonresidential use;
  • If the unit is unsafe for occupancy;
  • If the unit cannot be occupied during necessary repairs or renovations;
  • If the landlord or a member of their immediate family plans to live in the unit and no other similar unit is available; or 
  • If the landlord has received an offer from someone who intends to buy the unit and use it as a primary residence. 
There are also provisions for no-cause evictions with a 90-day notice for a fixed-term tenancy, as well as for no-cause evictions pertaining to month-to-month tenancies.

Wrongful Eviction Claims
If a tenant makes a claim of being wrongfully evicted within one year, the landlord must pay three months’ rent plus damages.

After the landlord issues an allowable no-cause eviction, they cannot raise the rent more than 7% plus CPI prior to renting the unit to a new tenant.

Senate Bill 608 Timeline
Legislators are eager to hold hearings on this legislation early on in the session, but a timeline has not yet been set.

Tenant Committees (not new, just a reminder)The bill does not call for a change to the existing requirement regarding tenant committees. Those committees. Tenants are allowed to have a committee made up of no more than seven residents who may request to meet with landlord representatives up to twice each year.
  • The landlord of a representative must meet with the committee within 10-30 days of receiving a request.
  • The landlord must respond in writing to a tenant committee within 60 days of receiving a written summary of the meeting outcome. 

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