STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Oregon to Become First State to Impose Rent Control

Oregon is set to become the first state in the nation to impose mandatory rent control.

Posted: Feb 26, 2019 1:39 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 2:57 PM

By SARAH ZIMMERMAN , Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon will become the first state in the nation to impose statewide mandatory rent control after lawmakers passed a measure that will establish protections for people in the increasingly competitive housing market.

The House approved the landmark bill 35-25 on Tuesday, over objections from Republicans who argued rent control will discourage investment and do little to address the state's affordable housing crisis.

The measure, which previously passed the Senate, will now head to Gov. Kate Brown, who has said she will sign it. The bill will take effect immediately, as Democrats say the housing crisis constitutes an emergency.

Rep. Mark Meek, a Democrat from Oregon City who sponsored the bill in the House, said the measure will address the state's homelessness problem and provide Oregon residents "some predictability and stability with their expenses."

Oregon has been struggling to provide housing for the tens of thousands of people moving to the state each year looking for employment and lower costs of living.

The state's seen a 12.8 percent spike in homelessness over the past decade, with high rates of veterans, youth and families living without shelter, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"In every corner of Oregon, individuals are facing an emergency," said Rep. Tawna Sanchez, a Democrat from Portland and the Legislature's only Native American lawmaker. "From women fleeing domestic violence, to working families in communities big and small trying to get by, to indigenous people who struggle to find a safe and secure home, this crisis touches all of us."

The measure has made Oregon a nationwide leader in tenant protections, and advocates say rent control is the first step in addressing high rent, gentrification and a lack of affordable housing. New York has a statewide rent control law, but cities can choose whether to participate.

California restricts the ability of cities to impose rent control. Last November, voters defeated a ballot initiative that would have overturned that law.

Under the Oregon bill, landlords are limited to increasing rent only once per year. That increase can't be higher than 7 percent above the consumer price index — a benchmark figure that tracks average prices for most household purchases in the U.S.

Landlords also can't serve tenants 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.

Republicans warned that the measure will only exacerbate the current housing crisis, saying the regulations will discourage investors and landlords from building and maintaining more property.

"Reduction in landlords means a reduction in housing, plain and simple," said Rep. Kim Wallen, a Republican from Medford. "This is the wrong solution for the whole state to make owning rentals so unpleasant that people simple stop getting into the business."

Opponents add that the state should instead focus on the critical shortage of affordable housing. It's estimated that 30,000 housing units must be built per year to meet the state's current housing deficit and to build for the future as more people move to Oregon, according to Democrat House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Democrats say that new builders are exempt from the rent control law for 15 years, which is meant to spur development throughout the state. They add that they plan to continue addressing the housing shortage with future legislation to incentivize affordable housing.

"Oregon is open for business," said Meek, who works as a realtor outside the Legislature.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42808

Reported Deaths: 664
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9292163
Marion5929108
Washington583877
Umatilla337645
Clackamas317265
Lane241927
Malheur192738
Jackson17076
Deschutes113613
Yamhill100115
Linn81615
Polk65715
Jefferson6059
Morrow5457
Lincoln51713
Union4682
Benton4456
Klamath4173
Douglas3598
Wasco34816
Hood River2771
Columbia2691
Josephine2693
Coos2510
Clatsop2440
Baker1253
Crook1102
Tillamook700
Curry581
Wallowa462
Lake380
Harney340
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 914888

Reported Deaths: 17460
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3020777027
Riverside669931303
San Bernardino633671073
Orange589801454
San Diego55210877
Kern33928416
Fresno30969439
Sacramento25601491
Santa Clara24425392
Alameda23471462
San Joaquin21729489
Contra Costa18763242
Stanislaus17714398
Tulare17590288
Ventura14330165
Imperial12967336
San Francisco12189140
Monterey1141990
San Mateo11198159
Santa Barbara9827122
Merced9531155
Sonoma9494136
Kings826483
Solano744576
Marin7096129
Madera503774
Placer420757
San Luis Obispo417432
Yolo321959
Butte309552
Santa Cruz280825
Napa196616
Shasta195431
Sutter186512
San Benito144215
El Dorado13514
Yuba132310
Mendocino113621
Tehama8928
Lassen7661
Lake69816
Glenn6713
Nevada6238
Humboldt56810
Colusa5516
Calaveras34218
Amador33116
Tuolumne2754
Inyo23115
Siskiyou2050
Del Norte1801
Mono1802
Mariposa792
Plumas700
Modoc360
Trinity270
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 72°
Brookings
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 62°
Crater Lake
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 46°
Grants Pass
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 46°
Cold morning, warm afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events