Pet owners could be spared 'pet rent' under Oregon bill

Pet deposits would still be OK; reaction mixed

Pet rent elimination bill proposed

BEND, Ore. - Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would block landlords from placing so called "pet rents" on tenants.

If this bill were to become law, landlords could still charge a pet deposit, but they would not be allowed to tack on extra rent each month for a pet.

House Bill 2683 is aimed at curbing the rising cost of rent across the state. Studies show Oregonians pay on average about $1,100 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment. That's about $109 more than the rest of the nation, on average. 

The Portland and Milwaukie lawmakers behind the bill say pet rents unfairly punish pet owners.

And some pet owners agree, including Bend resident Abigail Fitzpatrick.

"For the dog, it's $50 a month, and I think it's $500 for the deposit," she said Thursday. "It's like, you already have the deposit for any damage my pet could possibly do. I mean, I know it's just 50 bucks, but 50 bucks adds up."

On the other hand, rental owners and property managers say if this bill passes, there will be more adverse impacts versus positive ones, including increased restrictions on landlords that could discourage people from renting out at all.

Terry Luelling, vice president of Central Oregon Rental Owners, said he's worried the bill might negatively impact housing by discouraging investors from getting involved.

"When they hear of these legislation coming through, whether it actually get enacted or not, it scares them out of the market, or they say, 'Why would I go into that industry when I have 10 layers of hoops to jump through to rent my unit?" Luelling said.

Property managers like Brandi Snow also said such a law could lead to more rentals banning pets altogether -- or increasing rent on everyone, even those without pets, to cover the pet rent they're no longer allowed to charge.

"This is somebody's investment, and really what they're doing by creating these bills is limiting what you can do on that investment," Snow said. "And you're really going to force these investors out. They're not going to want to do it anymore. You're really going to be reducing the number of investments that you have."

The bill in in its early stages, but is among several aimed at trying to make housing more affordable.

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