In a momentous legislative decision that promises to shape Oregon’s housing market, a new law has been passed that further restricts how much landlords can hike rents. This groundbreaking move comes on the heels of dramatic inflationary periods that saw tenants grappling with increases as high as 14.6% in 2022.
The Latest Legal Pivot: A 10% Cap
Sen. Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, initially proposed a bill that would have capped rent hikes at 8% or 3% plus inflation, whichever was lower. However, the enacted law settles on a maximum 10% rent increase for buildings that are at least 15 years old. This new measure aims to prevent most double-digit rent increases in years of high inflation. As for properties exempted from the cap—those that are less than 15 years old—property managers have free rein to adjust rent prices as they see fit.
Rent Increase Guidelines: The Updated Rulebook
Landlords, brace yourselves for a more stringent set of regulations. Here’s what you should know:
- First Year Immunity: Landlords are still prohibited from raising rent during the first year of a tenancy.
- Notice Period: After the initial year, a 90-day written notice is mandatory before any increase can be implemented.
- Annual Limit: Rent can only be raised once in any given 12-month period.
Failure to comply can be a costly affair for landlords. Tenants have a legal right to claim three months’ worth of rent and any actual damages suffered due to unlawful increases.
City-Specific Ordinances: Portland’s Additional Layer
If your property is located within Portland’s city limits, there’s another layer of regulatory tape to peel back. Landlords wishing to increase rent by 5% or more must provide tenants with an explanation of their rights under Portland’s “Relocation Assistance” ordinance. And if the increase is 10%, the landlord may find themselves obligated to pay a “relocation assistance” fee, the amount of which depends on the dwelling’s size.
Subsidized Housing: A Special Case
Rent increases in federally subsidized housing still abide by a different set of rules and often require governmental approval. Generally, tenants in such accommodations are required to pay 30% of their income for rent, and rent hikes in these instances are tightly regulated.
The Market Pulse
According to real estate website Zillow, the median rent in Oregon currently stands at approximately $1,820. With the new law in place, both tenants and landlords are keen to see how it will impact an already tense housing market.
We Will Continue to Watch
This legislative update marks a significant turning point in Oregon’s housing sector, with ripples that are likely to be felt by tenants and landlords alike. At its core, the law aims to strike a delicate balance, safeguarding renters from exorbitant increases while still providing landlords with some latitude to adjust to market conditions. However, as with any new law, the devil will be in the details—and those details are worth watching as they unfold.