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The Numbers on Oregon's New "Rent Control" Measures

Oregon gives the controversial practice a new lease on life.

By Ramona DeNies April 23, 2019 Published in the May 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

In February 2019, Gov. Kate Brown signed into law—effective that day—what media reports widely called the nation’s first statewide rent control legislation. Technically, Senate Bill 608 calls for rent stabilization: controlling the rate of rent increases, not rent itself. Regardless, it’s controversial. Supporters say it will slow Oregon’s housing crisis by offering tenants predictability and protection. (The law also bans no-cause evictions after one year of occupancy.) Detractors say it’ll make the crisis worse: causing developers to shift to more profitable ventures and incentivizing a new generation of slumlords.


Renters’ 2018 median monthly housing expenses in Portland


Renters’ 2017 median monthly housing expenses in Portland


Percent by which renters’ housing expenses rose between 2017 and 2018


Maximum percent, plus inflation, by which most Oregon landlords can now increase annual rent


The going inflation rate for the rest of 2019

Sept 30

Date by which Oregon will annually calculate next year’s rent increase cap

Feb 28, 2019

The “effective date” for Senate Bill 608, capping rent increase rates at most rental properties in Oregon. But ...


Years new rental units are exempt from the law (meaning units that began renting in 2005 won’t face rent caps until next year, while units that come on the market in 2020 are exempt until 2035)


Standard government recommendation for the maximum percent of a household’s gross income that should be spent on housing


Annual income needed to spend less than 30 percent of it on median rent in Portland last year


Months’ worth of rent, plus damages, for which any Oregon landlord found to be violating the law is liable to the tenant


Number of Democratic Oregon legislators who voted against the bill


Number of Republican Oregon legislators who voted for the bill

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