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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: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

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Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
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Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
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