New Oregon law puts a cap on massive rent increases

U.S. & World

After seven years of paying rent on time, Gloria Marin got a huge surprise last summer when her landlord jacked up her payment on her Portland apartment by 25 percent.

“I was really shocked and I was really worried,” she said.

When Marin tried to negotiate, she said her landlord simply evicted her family without cause. That left her scrambling in one of the nation’s hottest rental markets.

“We were lucky we had a little bit of savings because we were wanting to buy a house in a year and a half,” Marin said. “We had to use our savings.”

Rent in Portland is up more than 30 percent over the past five years, which is similar to cities like Atlanta and Sacramento. It’s those spikes that Oregon’s new statewide rent control law are meant to stop.

“It will provide immediate relief to Oregonians struggling to keep up with rising rents,” said Gov. Kate Brown.

The new law caps rent increases at seven percent a year. Most landlords now also have to give three months’ notice and pay a tenant a month’s rent to evict them without cause. But many landlords and developers say it’s not a long-term solution.

“If you look at rent control in many other communities it has not been effective. It is a disincentive to build and for landlords to maintain their buildings,” said Sarah Zahn, director of development, Urban Development Partners.

There are some exemptions, like for buildings less than 15 years old. Marin only wishes the new law had come sooner

“My daughter would still be in the same school you know, not having to readjust,” Marin said.

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