Oregon Legislature Signed a Rent Cap Bill
On February 28, 2019, Governor Brown signed SB 608 into law, and it became effective immediately. This victory comes after several years of hard work by people who rent their home, advocates, and allies. Over the course of several years, elected leaders have heard from people who rent their homes who live across our state. They have heard from nurses, teachers, landlords, faith leaders, doctors, business owners, realtors, and more, who share the view that rent increases are harming our communities.
SB 608 was Designed to Help Apartment Renters, but helps us…sort of
The one group they didn’t seem to consider when enacting this legislation was how it would affect manufactured and floating home owners in rented space.
On the one hand, prior to SB 608, park and marina landlords could raise our rents as high as they wished as often as they wished.
So, the good news is that park and marina Landlords now have a limit on rent increases for month-to-month tenancies:
- Cap on rent increases within any 12-month period
- No more than 7% + the Consumer Price Index
- In 2020, the maximum rent increase is set at 9.9% because CPI=2.9%
- In 2021, the maximum rent increase is set at 9.2% because CPI=2.2%
- In 2022, the maximum rent increase is set at 9.9% because CPI=2.9%
- In 2023, the maximum rent increase is set at 14.6% because CPI=7.6%
Keep in mind, this cap does not apply to rent increases for fixed term park and marina tenancies upon their expirations. During a fixed term tenancy, rent increases must be limited to whatever rent increase amount is outlined in the rental agreement that the park or marina tenant signed. However, when the fixed term park or marina lease expires, the landlord has no limits on what the rent increase will be for the new fixed term lease renewal that they offer the tenant.
While SB 608 is ground-breaking for apartment renters and better than what park and marina tenants on month-to-month tenancies had previously, this high limit is still far too high for manufactured and floating home owners to sustain over the long term without the risk of losing their homes.
Penalties for Violating SB 608
Penalties for violating these laws shall result in landlord liability for:
- Three months’ rent;
- Actual damages sustained by the tenant; and
- Potential Attorney fees and legal costs.
Exemptions for SB 608
There are two important exemptions on the rent control restrictions. The rent control limitations do not apply to:
- Any rental unit when the first certificate of occupancy for the unit was issued less than 15 years from the date of the notice of the rent increase, and
- Any rental unit where the landlord is providing reduced rent to the tenant as part of a federal, state or local program or subsidy.
Landlords who increase rent for these types of tenancies above the maximum percentage must specify the facts supporting the exemption in any such rent increase notice issued to the tenants.
NOTE: Penalties for violating these amendments imposing rent control are in addition to any penalties incurred for violation of local laws. The City of Portland has “relocation assistance” laws which also require a landlord to pay moving conditions if you have to move because of rent increases of 10% or more under certain conditions. If, within 45 calendar days after a Portland tenant receives a rent increase notice indicating a rent increase of 10% or more within a rolling 12-month period, and a tenant provides written notice to the landlord of the tenant’s request for relocation assistance, then, within 31 calendar days of receiving the tenant’s notice, the landlord must pay the tenant relocation assistance in the following amounts: $2,900 for a studio or SRO dwelling unit, $3,300 for a one-bedroom dwelling unit, $4,200 for a two-bedroom dwelling unit, and $4,500 for a three-bedroom or larger dwelling unit.
SB 608 Rent Cap Issue
So even though park and marina tenants now have rent caps hovering around 9-10% which is better than what we had prior to SB 608, 7%+CPI rent increases are still far too much for most manufactured and floating home owner to be able to afford. Since SB 608, some park and marina landlords have begun to increase rents to the maximum allowed by law each year in order to cover costs that they might have down the road – basically a savings account.
At least one landlord is on their second nearly 10% rent increase since the bill passed in 2019!! At the 2021 limit of 9.2%, these rent increases are the cause of many park and marina tenants being forced to sell homes in which they had purchased for retirement.
OSTA is advocating for a lower rent cap for park and marina tenants. Unfortunately, with the pandemic and the Coalition landlords unwilling to negotiate on this topic, it is unlikely that we will be able to make any progress in 2020-21.
Latest Legislative Activity and Progress
Due to COVID-19 and the landlords’ unwillingness to participate in The Coalition during the first 6 months of the pandemic, our pursuit of legislative changes was delayed. We have just resumed negotiations in October of 2020. For a full report of our efforts, check out our post “2021 Legislative Progress – 2020 Year End Update.”
Success is no accident. It is hard work., perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love what you are doing.
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