SALEM, Ore. - SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Lawmakers in the Oregon Senate approved a bill Tuesday that aims to protect renters amid a statewide housing crisis, with the measure restricting landlords from terminating tenancy and from imposing large rent increases.
The bill passed on Tuesday with 17 in favor and 11 opposed. It now goes to the House.
Sen. Tim Knopp, a Republican from Bend, said before he voted no that the bill doesn't address the supply issue.
But Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Rogue Valley, said the alternative is to leave renters vulnerable.
The bill prohibits landlord from terminating month-to-month tenancy without cause after 12 months of occupancy. It also limits maximum annual rent increases to 7 percent above the annual change in the consumer price index.
News release from Oregon Senate Democrats:
A bill designed to help rein in soaring rental increases for working families across the state passed the Oregon Senate on Tuesday, Senate Democrats said.
The vote was 17-11-2, with two excused absences.
All 17 votes in favor were Democrats, while 10 Republicans and a Democrat voted no.
Senate Bill 608 would eliminate “no cause” evictions after tenants have completed their first year of occupancy. It also would cap annual rental increases for buildings more than 15 years old. The bill was co-carried by Sen. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland, and Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, on the Senate floor.
“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 three 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 would protect Oregon’s renters by ensuring they won’t face enormous, unforeseen rent increases or be kicked out of their homes after they’ve been in their homes for at least a year. Safe and stable housing is a central requirement for healthy families to thrive and for children to excel in school.
The bill prohibits landlords from terminating month-to-month tenancies without cause after one year of occupancy. Tenants would be entitled to 90 days’ notice of eviction and a relocation assistance payment in the amount of one month’s rent. Landlords with four or fewer units would not be required to make relocation assistance payments.
“Safe, secure housing is a cornerstone of healthy and thriving families,” Monnes Anderson said. “We are the first state that’s ever taken this approach and I believe it will help people stay in their homes, without diminishing the supply of rental housing in the state.”
News release from Stable Homes for Oregon Families:
STATEMENT PRAISING PASSAGE OF SB 608 BY THE OREGON SENATE FROM STABLE HOMES FOR OREGON FAMILIES
Today the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 608, a bill which provides basic protections for tenants. Passage of the bill came after a four hours long hearing last week in the Senate Housing Committee with most witnesses testifying in favor of the bill. The Stable Homes for Oregon Families coalition, representing people who rent their homes, landlords, advocates, labor unions, faith and community organizations issued the following statement upon the bill’s passage:
“Today the Oregon Senate passed essential legislation to stabilize families and protect people from predatory renting practices. With this vote, they listened to and stood up for the families and individuals who have been displaced, left behind, and too often ignored during the housing crisis. We applaud the Senate leaders who have worked so hard ensure passage of SB 608 through the first chamber.
SB 608 will next go to the Oregon House of Representatives. If passed, it will go to Governor Brown, who has already stated she supports and will sign the bill.
To learn more, go to StableHomesOr.org.