On July 6th, 2023, Governor Tina Kotek signed into law Senate Bill 611. This new legislation places further restrictions on landlords’ ability to increase the rent at their units. Due to the emergency provision, as everything is now an emergency, it was effective upon signing.
The bill dictates the following:
- Housing providers may only raise the rent once in any 12-month period.
- If a housing provider terminates the tenancy without cause within the first year of occupancy, the maximum amount the rent may be increased must not exceed the maximum amount the housing provider could have charged the terminated tenancy.
- Unless one of the exemptions applies, rent increases may not exceed the lesser of either: 10% or 7% plus the published CPI (Consumer Price Index).
The new requirement for rent increases only once per 12-month period applies to all properties, regardless if they qualify for an exemption in another area.
When Senate Bill 608 was signed into law in 2019, it was already apparent that it was only the beginning and they would be implementing more restrictive rent control in the future. All rent increases are now limited to 10% of gross rent, or 7% plus the published CPI, whichever is less. Landlords may only raise the rent once per year.
Any landlord that transgresses the above-stated requirements is liable to the tenant in an amount equal to three months’ rent, plus actual damages suffered by the tenant. Landlords must navigate this with caution. The slightest mistake has the potential to be financially painful.
As far as an emergency bill goes, SB 611 was relatively short and easy to read, even clearly stated. There are no hidden surprises. It is an annoyance, but little else. The current rental market will not support rent increases above 10%, and it is highly unlikely that it would have been able to do so at any time in the foreseeable future. No one was raising the rent more than once a year.
This bill, like so many that have come before it, is devoid of any practical purpose. It is the result of legislators in Salem wishing to show their constituents that they are not, in fact, utterly useless. It solved no issues for tenants and caused only a few minor inconveniences for landlords.
If you have any questions regarding this bill, reach out and let us know.
As always, Happy Landlording!