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Renters Push New Rent Law, Say It's Not Enough

The governor signed the bill Thursday, making Oregon the first state in the nation to have such a law.

Posted: Mar 1, 2019 7:52 PM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 9:43 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Landlords, renters, and property managers are trying to weed through the details when it comes to Oregon's new rent control law.

The governor signed the bill Thursday, making Oregon the first state in the nation to have such a law. 

Charles Rice, a Medford resident struggling with his rising rent, doesn't think the law goes far enough. He has lived in his two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in southwest Medford for about a decade. He says he's seen a $50 increase every year on his rent, which is now up to $850. 

He says it's a challenge to pay his rising rent because he is battling cancer and is on Social Security with a limited income. He wants to see a law that puts a monetary limit on how much landlords can raise rent each year. 

"They use percentage points," Rice says, talking about the new law. "I don't want to hear percentage points."

The law prevents landlords from raising rent higher than seven percent plus the consumer price index -- a benchmark of the average prices for most house purchases in the U.S.

Landlords also can't 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.

There are exemptions to the law, like if an owner has fewer than four units, or if a rental property has had its occupancy licenses less than 15 years. Senator Jeff Golden, (D - Ashland) says this is to ensure "that developers can recoup investment costs." 

Claude LaBaw, co-owner and president of My Favorite Property Management in Medford, says he thinks the seven percent plus the CPI is a good number.

"I don't think it's going to be that big of a problem, because most landlords don't raise their rent $300 - $400 in a year," LaBaw said. "Most landlords will raise them $100, $50, $25, depending on their expenses." 

For Rice, that's still too much. We reached out to his landlord, who works at Our Valley Properties LLC. All calls went straight to voicemail. Rice says he likes his neighborhood, but isn't sure what they're going to do to be able to stay. 

"We have nowhere to go," Rice said. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 214869

Reported Deaths: 2836
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41288617
Washington27471257
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Clackamas19603240
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Jackson12195151
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Linn607281
Yamhill496981
Klamath490279
Douglas423587
Polk421556
Josephine395874
Malheur365067
Benton338722
Jefferson245642
Coos226839
Columbia204732
Union159024
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Wasco149831
Crook136824
Hood River124634
Morrow120317
Clatsop111810
Baker105717
Curry75512
Tillamook7285
Grant5577
Lake4848
Harney45111
Wallowa2086
Gilliam841
Sherman772
Wheeler351
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San Bernardino3040755236
Riverside3040604657
San Diego2906253793
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Santa Clara1217672099
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Contra Costa74030830
Stanislaus650191085
Tulare50104854
Monterey44273524
San Mateo43880588
San Francisco38954561
Solano35193259
Santa Barbara35189465
Merced32814484
Sonoma31965328
Imperial28996745
Placer24530304
Kings23366248
San Luis Obispo21717264
Madera16885249
Santa Cruz16452207
Marin14589238
Yolo14574214
Butte12982203
Shasta12804242
El Dorado10774120
Napa1025281
Sutter9965115
Yuba681651
San Benito622963
Lassen586826
Tehama581566
Nevada518375
Humboldt489753
Mendocino457150
Tuolumne433473
Lake396364
Amador381648
Siskiyou252740
Glenn245727
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Del Norte15518
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