Updated 7/12/17: HB 2004 was not passed by the Oregon State Senate.
On Tuesday April 4th, the Oregon State House passed House Bill 2004, which would place new limitations on evictions, require relocation fees for certain evictions, and would reinstate rent controls throughout the state. As this new legislation moves on to the Senate, it would be wise to start preparing for if it passes.
Like California’s AB 1506, HB 2004 aims to address the affordable housing crisis by allowing local municipalities to place rental controls. The bill (as its current form on April 11th) would remove a statewide prohibition on local rent stabilization ordinances for residential rental units. Municipalities that want to create rent ceilings would be required to ensure a fair rate of return for landlords and create a process through which landlords could request an exception if they do not receive a fair rate of return. If enacted, new units would be exempt from rent control for at least 5 years.
According to Statesman Journal, the original bill was amended to allow landlords to use no-cause evictions during the first 6 months of an occupancy but after 6 months, landlords can only terminate month-to-month tenants with cause. Some just cause evictions (for business or personal reasons) are needing to make repairs or renovations, selling the unit, or if the landlord or landlord’s family plans to move into the unit. In these cases Oregon landlords would have to give a 90-day notice and provide one month’s rent for moving expenses. Landlords with four or fewer units will not be required to pay the relocation fee.
As of February 2nd, the City of Portland enacted a housing policy that requires landlords to pay their tenants a relocation fee if they are evicted without cause or if the rent is raised more than 10%. While many have argued that Portland’s move-out reimbursement legislation violates current Oregon state law (because it has a similar effect as rent controls), if HB 2004 is passed by the Oregon Senate, Portland’s law would be undisputable. As we said in a previous article, with Portland’s relocation fees (and by extension, if HB 2004 is passed), Oregon landlords will need to strengthen their tenant screening criteria in order to avoid potential evictions.
While Oregon’s HB 2004 moves on to the Senate, take the time to review how this potential legislation will affect you and your current eviction policies. Make note of potential changes like eviction procedures, potential liabilities and internal fees (like moving expenses), and review if your current tenant screening provider is giving you the quality data you need to avoid potential evictions.
Do you think this law will significantly hurt your property or help it? Do you think rental controls are an effective way to combat the affordable housing shortage? Send us your experiences in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe for more legislative updates.