Rent control bill enacted last week

Gov. Kate Brown holds up signed copies of the rent control bill.

SALEM—Oregon on Feb. 28 enacted the nation’s farthest-reaching law limiting rent increases and restricting no-fault evictions, providing immediate protection to roughly 1 million renters across the state.

Senate Bill 608, took effect with Gov. Kate Brown’s signature just after noon Feb. 28, making Oregon the only state in the nation with statewide rent control.

“This is a groundbreaking piece of legislation as we are the first state in the nation to enact this level of protection for our renters,” Brown said at the signing. “The bill is a critical tool for stabilizing the rental market throughout the state of Oregon. It will provide immediate relief to Oregonians struggling to keep up with rising rents in a tight rental market. But it doesn’t work on its own. It’s going to take much more work to ensure every Oregonian … has access to housing choices that will ensure that they and their families can thrive.”

A key component of the new law is that landlords in most circumstances can’t raise rents by more than 7 percent on top of inflationary increase tied to the Consumer Price Index.

That’s a bigger boost than some tenant advocates had wanted. “Seven percent, plus CPI, could be too expensive for some tenants, but for a long time, some landlords have been giving 20 percent, 40 percent, 100 percent increases,” said Danny Moran, spokesman for House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland.

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