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Oregon Passes Rent Control Bill 611

Reviewed By: Pete Evering

Governor Tina Kotek signed Senate Bill 611 on July 6th — a bill that imposes rent increase caps and additional limitations to landlords in Oregon.

In the state of Oregon, landlords aren’t allowed to impose rent increases exceeding 7% plus inflation. With soaring inflation in recent years, this limit has allowed rent increases as high as 14.5%. In response, legislators are changing the way that rent caps are calculated with Bill 611.

Under the new bill, rent increases are capped at 7% plus the average change in the CPI, or 10% flat, whichever is lower. It also clarifies that landlords may not increase the rent more than once during any 12-month period, unless a tenancy is week-to-week.

This bill no news to Oregonians, as the state was the first in the nation to ever pass a statewide rent control law. In fact, the final bill is a more conservative version of the original proposition that faced backlash and hesitancy from legislators.

When it was first proposed, the initial draft capped rent hikes at 3% plus inflation, or 8% flat. Senator Kayse Jama, chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development, amended the bill in late April to its current version.

The bill is seeking to reduce the levels of homelessness in the state, specifically in urban areas like Portland. Advocates of the bill, such as the Oregon Housing Alliance and the Community Alliance of Tenants, argue that annual rent hikes are a primary driver of the increasing levels of homelessness in the city.

Landlord groups such as Multifamily NW are in opposition of the new bill, arguing that it will actually be counterproductive in supporting tenants. The National Apartment Association released research showing that rent control policies can indirectly lead to reduced property values, housing supply, and quality of available properties. Rent control also disincentives new construction, all leading to an exacerbation of the housing affordability crisis.

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