Oregon Becomes the First State to Implement Statewide Rent Control

Oregon's rent control law places a cap on rent increases and limits landlords’ ability to remove tenants without cause.

On February 28, 2019, Oregon made history by becoming the first state to pass a statewide rent control and tenant protection law. (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 90.323, 90.427, 90.600 (2019).)

Oregon's new law applies to almost all types of rental properties in the state, and regulates how landlords can terminate tenancies and increase rent.

Tenancy Terminations

The rules on how and when landlords can terminate depend on the type of tenancy. The new law addresses week-to-week, month-to-month, and fixed-term tenancies (as well as tenancies located within a landlord's primary residence). To learn the rules that apply to your tenancy, review the full text of the laws.

Month-to-Month Tenancies

Landlords may terminate a tenancy without cause for month-to-month tenants, but only during the first year of occupancy. After that, landlords must have a reason, or "just cause," as enumerated in the law (such as demolishing the building, moving immediate family members into the unit, or the tenant's violation of a lease term).

Tenants With Leases

Tenants with a one-year (or shorter) lease may not have their tenancies terminated during the first year of occupancy unless the tenant has failed to pay the rent or violated another material term of the tenancy (such as having a pet in violation of a no-pet rule). Landlords may decide to not renew or extend a one-year tenant's (or shorter) lease by giving a 30-day "termination" notice prior to the lease's expiration date. If the landlord does not terminate and the tenant stays, the tenant has become a month-to-month tenant, but one who has the protections of "just cause" eviction rules on account of the tenant's occupancy for more than one year (see above).

Rent Increases

The new law limits the amount of rent increases, bars landlords from raising rent more than once in any 12-month period, and requires landlords to give tenants proper notice before raising rent.

During any 12-month period, landlords cannot raise the rent more than 7% plus the consumer price index above the existing rent—no matter how long the tenancy. Every September 30, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis will publish the maximum annual rent increase percentage for the following year.

For week-to-week tenancies, landlords can raise the rent after giving seven days' written notice. For all other tenancies, landlords cannot raise rent within the first year of a tenancy. After the first year of a tenancy, landlords must give 90 days' written notice before raising the rent.

Landlords who illegally increase rent must pay tenants an amount equal to three months' rent, plus any damages the tenants suffered from the increase (such as interest on money they borrowed to cover rent).

Property Excluded From Rent Increase Cap

The rent increase cap of 7% plus the consumer price index does not apply to properties:

  • that received their first certificate of occupancy less than 15 years from the date of the notice of rent increase, and
  • where tenants pay reduced rent as part of a federal, state, or local program or subsidy.

Some rent limitations do apply to exempt properties, however: Landlords cannot raise rent during the first year of a tenancy, and must give tenants 90 days' written notice before raising rent after the first year of a tenancy.

Other Sources of Information

Oregon tenants who need assistance with the new laws can contact the Oregon Law Center or Legal Aid Services of Oregon. The Community Alliance of Tenants also has a renters' rights hotline at (503) 288-0130. Both landlords and tenants in Portland can check out the Portland Housing Bureau for more information.

Effective date: February 28, 2019