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: 12438

Reported Deaths: 237
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah296672
Marion189354
Washington189221
Umatilla10418
Clackamas100628
Malheur4002
Union3692
Lincoln3615
Lane3093
Deschutes2680
Yamhill2059
Linn18210
Jackson1810
Polk17912
Jefferson1680
Morrow1541
Klamath1381
Wasco1171
Benton1156
Hood River1060
Douglas640
Josephine571
Clatsop550
Columbia540
Coos540
Lake240
Crook181
Tillamook160
Wallowa150
Baker120
Curry90
Sherman50
Gilliam20
Harney20
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 333357

Reported Deaths: 7089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1363573824
Riverside25748550
Orange25255424
San Diego19929422
San Bernardino19502307
Fresno828288
Imperial7977136
Alameda7976148
San Joaquin698870
Kern660198
Santa Clara6542167
Tulare5942152
Sacramento571483
Stanislaus497351
Contra Costa485290
San Francisco459050
Ventura424653
San Mateo4045112
Santa Barbara393131
Marin370232
Kings297039
Monterey279018
Solano207528
Merced188412
Sonoma181916
Placer111411
San Luis Obispo10065
Yolo92928
Madera8938
Santa Cruz5693
Napa5184
Lassen4280
Sutter4034
San Benito3622
Butte3384
El Dorado3070
Shasta2006
Yuba1983
Glenn1760
Humboldt1654
Nevada1631
Mendocino1320
Lake1211
Colusa1130
Tehama1071
Tuolumne730
Calaveras670
Del Norte610
Mono521
Siskiyou410
Amador400
Inyo351
Mariposa321
Plumas190
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 73°
Brookings
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Crater Lake
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Grants Pass
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 66°
Klamath Falls
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 68°
Sunny & hot Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events