What Landlords Need to Know About Oregon’s New Rent Control Law
In response to Oregon’s affordable housing crisis, the Legislature passed the nation’s first statewide rent control bill. That bill, SB 608, was signed into law by Governor Kate Brown on February 28. It included an emergency clause, which means that it took effect immediately upon passage.
Because the bill makes several changes to existing law, it has huge implications for landlords and investors in rental property.
The no-cause eviction standard is now eliminated after the first year of occupancy. Tenant-based causes currently in law are still allowed. Those include evictions for violating the terms of the lease and failure to pay rent.
SB 608 bolsters for-cause, landlord-based evictions under four circumstances. However, landlords who use those reasons are now required to provide 90 days’ notice and provide one months’ rent as relocation expenses. Those four circumstances are if the landlord or a family member move in to the unit, have to conduct significant renovation or repair, remove the unit from residential use or sell the unit to someone who will be moving in.
Landlords who own four or fewer units don’t have to pay the relocation expenses. No-cause evictions can still be used at any time by landlords who occupy the same property as their renters, if it’s owner-occupied with two or fewer units.
Month-to-month tenancies are handled differently under the new law. Landlords can terminate the tenancy during the first 12 months of occupancy without cause, as long as they provide a 30-day notice. Once that one-year period has passed, landlords can no longer evict without case and have to use one of the four landlord-based reasons or a current tenant-based reason.
Tenancies that are on fixed terms roll over to month-to-month after a year of occupancy unless there is a landlord or tenant-based cause.
There are still exceptions to that, though. Those leases might not roll over if the terms have been violated by the tenant three separate times. Landlords have to have provided written warnings for those violations.
Rent increases are capped at seven percent per year. As is currently the law, increases are prohibited in the first year of month-to-month agreements. Landlords must give 90-day notice of increases following that period.
That does not apply to new construction. Landlords can increase the rent more than seven percent in a year if the certificate of occupancy for the unit was issued 15 years ago or less.
If the rent is reduced as part of a government subsidized program housing, the landlord is exempt. It also doesn’t apply if the unit was vacated by the previous tenant voluntarily or the tenancy was terminated under other applicable law. Landlords can then reset the rent on the new tenancy without limit
Violating the new provisions will make landlords liable for a total of three months rent and actual damages to the tenant.
Located in Beaverton, Oregon, ABI Insurance has a team of professional experts that can help homeowners mitigate the risks associated with rental properties. ABI offers specialty insurance for apartments and rentals.
For more information, you can go to ABI’s website, https://abipdx.com/. You can also call ABI at 503-292-1580.