A bill that would stabilize out-of-control rent hikes for residential properties across the state is advancing to the Oregon Senate for a vote.
Senate Bill 608 – which passed out of the Senate Committee on Housing today with a “do pass” recommendation – would eliminate the potential for many “no cause” evictions on residential tenancies. It also would cap annual rental increases.
The bill would provide certainty for Oregon’s renters by ensuring they won’t face enormous and unforeseen rent increases or be kicked out of their homes. Safe and stable housing is a central requirement for healthy families to thrive and for children to excel in school. Sen. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland, chairs the Senate Housing Committee and is a leader on the issue of housing.
“Last December, I met an 83-year-old renter who was afraid to ask maintenance to fix her lights for fear of eviction or a rent spike,” Fagan said. “She had lived in the dark for 3 months by the time I met her. SB 608 protects her and hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who deserve safe and stable rental housing.”
The bill prohibits landlords from terminating month-to-month tenancies without cause after one year of occupancy. Tenants would be entitled to advanced written notice, ranging from 30 to 90 days, if they are going to be evicted. The bill also would cap annual rent increases to 7 percent – plus the consumer price index – over the existing year’s rents. Landlords who fail to comply with those provisions would pay three months’ rent, plus actual damages, to the tenants affected by the eviction or rent increase.
Numerous Oregonians from various parts of the state provided oral or written testimony on the legislation. The bill now will go to the full Senate for a vote.
“Today, working hard is no guarantee that you will be able to put a roof over your head – let alone a healthy and stable one,” Habitat for Humanity of Oregon Executive Director Shannon Vilhauer said in written testimony. “We believe Oregon is better than that. Every Oregonian should be able to find a decent and affordable place to live. Diligent renters deserve the opportunity to plant roots in their local communities. Every child benefits when classrooms stabilize.”