Governor Brown Signs Landmark 'Rent Control' Bill Into Law

The new law will make Oregon the first state in the U.S. to put caps and control measures on how much a landlord can raise rent and how often.

Posted: Feb 28, 2019 12:34 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2019 2:01 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an unprecedented rental housing bill into law on Thursday — a bill for which she has expressed support as one part of a multi-pronged push to create more affordable housing in the state.

“This legislation will provide some immediate relief to Oregonians struggling to keep up with rising rents and a tight rental market,” Brown said. “But it does not work alone. It will take much more to ensure that every Oregonian, in communities large and small, has access to housing choices that allow them and their families to thrive.”

The bill passed the Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives on Tuesday, after passing in the Senate previously. Governor Brown was fully expected to sign, and many heralded the bill's transition into law as practically assured.

Under the new law, landlords will only be able to raise rent once per year, and the increase cannot be higher than 7 percent above the consumer price index — a benchmark of the average prices for most house purchases in the U.S.

Landlords also will not be able to carry out no-cause evictions within a tenant's first year of occupancy — a provision designed to protect those living month-to-month, who are often most vulnerable to sudden rent hikes and abrupt lease terminations.

Many Republican lawmakers have been vocal with their opposition to the bill, arguing that it will actually reduce available housing by making the business of renting untenable for landlords.

Governor Brown's office said that her 2019-21 budget include $400 million in new investments "aimed at ending homelessness for Oregon’s children, providing permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless, housing Oregon’s veterans, and accelerating the growth of housing supply by tripling the existing pipeline of affordable housing by 2023."

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