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Oregon Issues Rent Control Across the State

Outline of Oregon Senate Bill 608 on rental fee restrictions and new guidelines for tenant evictions.

Refugio Garcia
Refugio Garcia

On February 28th, 2019, Oregon enacted rent control across the state. Here’s what landlords and tenants need to know.

New Caps on Rental Fees and Annual Increases in Oregon Under Senate Bill 608

Senate Bill 608 eliminated no cause evictions and placed caps on increasing rent. The maximum annual increase that a landlord can make is 7% plus the Consumer Price Index (inflation). In 2019, the maximum allowable increase was 10.3%.

The cap set on increasing rent is based on an annual calculation provided by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis and is based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, West Region, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Guidelines For The Termination of Tenancy in Oregon

In addition to newly implemented caps on rental fees, Oregon has also enacted enhanced protections for renters against evictions. Under the new law, a lease will automatically transition to a month-to-month rental agreement after it has expired unless the landlord and tenant agree to a new fixed-term lease.  The month-to-month rollover requirement is subject to the same for-cause guidelines for the termination of tenancy.

In the past, landlords in Oregon weren’t required to provide tenants with an exact reason as to why they were being evicted. The only requirement to evict someone was providing them with 30 days’ notice and nothing more. This is known as a “no-cause eviction.” Under the new bill, landlords are now required to provide renters with one of several listed “for-cause” justifications when terminating tenancy.

For-Cause Justifications to Evict Renters:

  • The planned conversion of a dwelling to a non-residential dwelling or simply demolishing the existing structure.
  • The landlord plans to make renovations or repairs to the structure making the dwelling unsafe for occupancy.
  • The landlord or their immediate family plans to move in, or if the landlord sells the property to a buyer who plans on using the unit as a primary residence.

Relocation Assistance Paid To Displaced Tenants In Oregon

Even if a landlord has just cause, it doesn’t mean that the renter is left high and dry following an eviction. The landlord is required to provide the renter with 90 days’ notice as well as paying the renter an amount equal to one months’ rent to assist with the expense of relocating. The exception to this rule is if the landlord in question owns four or fewer units. In this case, they will not be required to provide any assistance to the renter with relocation expenses.

However, the protection from a no cause eviction doesn’t go into effect until after the first 12 months that a property has been rented. Prior to this, a landlord can terminate a month-to-month tenancy without cause given that they provide the renter with 30 days’ notice. In the case that a  landlord chooses not to renew a fixed-term lease after the first 12-month period of occupancy has expired, they must provide the renter with 60 days’ notice to vacate the property.

New “3-Strikes” Violation-Based Termination of Tenancy Under Senate Bill 608

If a renter violates the terms of a lease agreement three separate times and the landlord has provided written warnings to the renter on each separate occasion, then the landlord has just cause to evict the tenant as long as a 90-day notice has been provided. In this instance, the landlord is not required to provide any relocation assistance to the renter regardless of how many units the landlord owns.

Structures and Properties Exempt from SB 608

In regards to new structures built within the last 15 years, a landlord can increase the rent without limitation. In addition, the guidelines of SB 608 are not applicable to housing that falls under regulated affordable housing, including those that are subsidized under a Federal, state or local program.

Final Word

Oregon State Bill 608 was written with the intention of protecting renters from unchecked increases in rental fees and from no-cause evictions. Knowing and understanding these newly implemented restrictions on evictions and fees can help protect renters and landlords alike.

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