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Oregon Rent Control Law Looks to Cap Rent Spikes

As the popularity and cultural cache of certain neighborhoods, cities, and states increases, long-time and even life-time residents can get priced out of their homes.

Case in point: Portland, Oregon has been a hipster mecca for about a decade, and CBS talked to a local woman whose landlord of seven years suddenly raised her rent 25 percent. When Gloria Marin protested, her landlord simply evicted her without cause, potentially leaving her homeless. In an effort to protect Marin and other tenants from massive rent spikes, Oregon passed the first statewide rent control law in the country.

Renter Relief

The statute, signed into law last week, caps annual rent increases to seven percent plus inflation throughout the state. Subsidized rent also is exempt from the new restrictions, as is new construction for 15 years. Additionally, landlords may raise rent indiscriminately if renters leave on their own. If landlords (without four or more rental properties) evict tenants without cause or in cases of major renovation, they are required to provide 90 days' notice and pay one month's rent to the tenant

"This bill is a critical tool for stabilizing the rental market throughout the state of Oregon," Governor Kate Brown said. "It will provide immediate relief to renters struggling to keep up with the rising rents in a tight rental market."

Local Control

Rent control rules generally vary by jurisdiction. For example, New York City limits rent control to apartments that have been occupied by a tenant continuously prior to July 1, 1971, in a building built before February 1, 1947. Meanwhile, apartments in buildings built before January 1, 1974, with six or more housing units are subject to similar restrictions called rent stabilization.

While the new Oregon law is the first statewide rent control measure, it also keeps in place a ban on local rent control laws, meaning cities like Portland can't impose their own rent control statutes.

If you're facing eviction or have questions about rent control rules where you live, contact a local tenant attorney today.

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