Dane Larsen | @_danebailey
The state of Oregon is working to mandate particular forms of rent control. This includes a cap on annual rent increase, and provide residential protection to citizens. The rent control bill passed the Oregon state Senate vote on February 12th and the House vote on February 26th. It will now be passed on to Governor Kate Brown (D), who has already expressed her support for SB 608.
“I look forward to signing the bill into law,” -Governor Brown
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) were the two sponsors the Oregon rent control bill. They worked with assistance from the supermajorities of the Democratic party in both houses. SB 608 passed the State Senate vote 17-11 (with two Senators abstaining) as well as the House vote 35-25.
Rent Control Regulations in SB 608
The rent control measures Oregon has taken prohibit landlords from terminating month-to-month leases without cause after 12 months of occupancy. It restricts annual change in rent increases to 7% above the annual change in the consumer price index. The Oregon legislature aims to protect its citizens from the disconnect of a slow increase of wages and an exponential increase in rent price over the past several years.
Oregon’s Background on the Issue
Oregon has been poised on the rent control issue for years now, with a recent spike in population in the recent past, from people moving into the progressive state with much to offer from growing cities on the West Coast. Since the influx, the population increase has slightly slowed down. As such, the legislatures have had time to craft two major bills pertaining to rent control. The first of which was defeated on the House floor. This defeat was a result of discontent from the GOP legislators, as well as disunity in the Democratic Party. After the Democrats were able to amalgamate a specific goal with bi-partisan support, they were able to overtake the GOP minority in Congress. This is precisely what we see with the passing of SB 608.
Oregon will become the first state in the US to impose a state-wide regulation onto rent control. Localities in New York, Maryland, California, New Jersey and also the District of Colombia have proposed and passed similar rent stabilization bills. 37 states have prohibited rent control outright. However, nine states have left it up to the municipal governments to implement their own variation.
Oregon was in the latter of the rent control situation before the passing of SB 608, with states having their own disparities. After enacted, the bill will allow cities to keep and further implement more severe caps on the annual rent increase. It will also allow them to further protection for its citizens. Rather, this bill will act as a baseline for all households in the state.
On the International Scale
Oregon joins 14 of the 36 OECD countries who have taken similar measures. This includes Canada, England, Wales, and Germany, as well as many others. Many of the foreign countries that have passed such a bill have taken a more progressive and radical angle than Oregon has this February. In Canada’s case, a 2.5% increase in the annual rent increase was enacted.
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