A new Oregon bill is in the works which would significantly change how landlords handle no-cause evictions and rent increases. The Oregon Senate held its first hearing of Senate Bill 611 in late March, and many tenants came forward to show their support. However, the bill also saw some significant opposition. Now that the bill has moved through the committee and onto the Senate floor, what future will SB 611 have?
Here’s what to know about the changes Senate Bill 611 promises and the impact this legislation would likely have on Portland’s rental community.
What Changes Will Senate Bill 611 Make?
SB 611 aims to make changes in two primary areas: the cost of no-cause evictions, and the price of rent.
Higher Costs For No-Cause Evictions
Currently, a number of restrictions limit when a landlord can evict a tenant without cause. In general, no-cause evictions are illegal except under the following conditions:
- The tenants have been in residence for less than a year
- The landlord lives on the same property, and there are two or fewer units
- The unit is going to be demolished, or its use changed
- Repairs of renovation
- A landlord or their family member will move into the property
- A new buyer will move into the property
For a no-cause eviction, landlords must pay relocation assistance within 45 days of the tenant’s lease terminating.
What will SB 611 change? In short, SB 611 would increase the amount of money a landlord owes their tenants for a no-cause eviction. The bill proposes raising the payment from one month’s rent to three months’ rent.
Limited Rent Increases
In 2019, Oregon Senate Bill 608 capped rent increases at 7% plus inflation. However, recent years have weakened that bill’s protections. As inflation soars, rent increases have been legal up to over 14%.
According to Sybil Hebb, director of legislative advocacy at the Oregon Law Center, the current formula “has resulted in 14.6% increases, which is having the very destabilizing effect that we wanted to prevent.” Hebb testified in support of SB 611.
What will SB 611 change? The legislation will tweak the previous limits, instead capping rental increases at 3% plus inflation or a flat 8% — whichever is lower.
Who Supports SB 611 – and Who Doesn’t?
Advocates of Senate Bill 611 have lauded it as part of a “Homelessness Prevention Package” that aims to protect Oregon residents from losing their homes. This is not the first bill that seeks to battle the state’s homelessness crisis. State Bill 799, for instance, tried to extend the eviction timeline for nonpayment of rent. With that additional time, advocates of SB 799 hope tenants can connect with rental assistance and avoid being evicted. While SB 799 did not pass, a separate $200 million homelessness and housing package included the eviction timeline extension.
This bill could indeed have a positive impact on addressing the homelessness crisis in Oregon. However, some people are concerned that tightening regulations on housing providers could have the opposite effect. If landlords and builders feel that Oregon’s economic climate is hostile to their business, they may choose to go out of state. That would mean less housing for Oregon’s residents and a worsening of the housing crisis.
“Continuing to house Oregonians at the sole expense of those providing their housing is not sound public policy and is not a sustainable way to address housing instability, said Kennedy Amundson, owner of Propagate Property Management. “We need to focus on permanent rent assistance and increasing supply.”
Will Senate Bill 611 Become Law?
It’s still too early to say whether the Senate will pass SB 611. As of right now, the bill has made it through a committee work session but must still pass the full Senate and Oregon House before receiving the governor’s approval. With a long road ahead, it’s impossible to know what the future holds for SB 611 and the people it would affect.
However, recent history has shown that the Oregon legislature has eagerly embraced protections for renters, even in the face of opposition. Though SB 799 did not pass, its central provisions still became law. As such, the smart move is to consider how SB 611 would affect your specific rental business, and prepare accordingly.
How to Prepare for Changes to Portland’s Rental Law
Changing property laws are the name of the game in the rental business. Recent years have seen vast shifts in how Oregon handles evictions, tenant screening, and other crucial factors. As landlords in the Portland area, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of everything. And without the proper research and care, you could easily find yourself in the midst of a legal battle with one of your tenants. For local mom-and-pop landlords, the stress of navigating new legislation and the high cost of failure can quickly cause burnout. If you just want to maintain a small rental business, why would you want to deal with small claims court and complicated legal text?
At Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, we believe you shouldn’t have to. Our professional team has helped Portland landlords weather the storm of new pandemic legislation during a time of massive upheaval. You can trust our expertise to ensure your rental is managed at the highest standard.
With us on your side, you’ll never have to worry about the complex and time-consuming aspects of property management. Our marketing team will craft your rental a killer listing to attract the best quality tenants. We then screen those tenants per the most up-to-date laws in Portland’s tenant screening procedures. You don’t have to worry about tenant communication, maintenance, repairs, or anything at all. At the same time, if you like to manage your properties with a personal touch, you can do as much or as little as you like. No matter what, we ensure your rental business thrives without taking a chunk out of your free time and happiness. Call or text us anytime at (503) 515-3170 or complete the contact form on our website for more information!