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 twofold. Landlords now have limits on rent increases in two ways:
- Landlords may not increase rent in the first year of the tenancy.
- Cap on rent increases within any 12-month period
While this is ground-breaking for apartment renters and better than what we had, this high limit is still far too high for manufactured and floating home owners to sustain without 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.