Approved: first vote on tenant protection bill. Senate Housing Committee approves SB 608
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Approved: first vote on tenant protection bill Senate Housing Committee approves SB 608 and sends it to full vote of Senate
Salem - Oregon renters got one step closer to statewide protections to prevent unfair evictions and extreme rent spikes today. The Senate Housing Committee voted to approve SB 608 after hours of testimony from renters, landlords, advocates, teachers, nurses, and others in favor of the bill. Among those testifying in favor were Senate President Peter Courtney and Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, who are jointly sponsoring the bill that has already been endorsed by Gov. Kate Brown.
"When you have 22,000 kids who experienced homelessness last year, we have to take action now to protect families. SB 608 is a reasonable approach that prevents both economic and no cause evictions and I look forward to giving Oregon renting families peace of mind for the first time,” says Speaker Kotek.
Also testifying for SB 608 hearing was Paula Pena of Salem, whose family is bearing a multi-generational effect of the statewide housing crisis. Her parent’s rent has increased 90 percent over the past 18 months and her sister’s rent has increased 30 percent. She and her husband are working to help her family while also raising five children of their own.
“My family cannot live under the threat of these rent increases anymore,” says Pena. “I urge lawmakers to pass SB 608 and pass it quickly to limit and stabilize rent increases and protect people from unfair evictions.”
Katrina Holland, executive director of the Community Alliance of Tenants spoke about how anxious tenants are for even basic statewide protections.
“Displacement due to rent spikes and no cause evictions are happening in every part of our state and SB 608 is essential statewide protection for every tenant in Oregon,” says Holland. “This is critical not only for people who rent their homes but for local communities.”
Southern Oregon Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood of Talent echoed that sentiment in her submitted testimony.
“The annual limits on rent hikes are essential to manage the horrible rent spikes that Talent in particular has experienced in Jackson County, these past few years,” she said. “We all have an opportunity to work together to provide those who struggle to remain in their homes, some relief from a crisis that erodes the most basic human needs. There is only one humane thing to do and that is vote to pass SB 608.”
The hearing surfaced an important development that bodes well for the bill: two influential landlord groups: the Oregon Rental Housing Association and the Rental Housing Alliance testified that they were neutral on the bill.
The Senate Housing Committee’s quick action in the third week of the legislative session shows lawmakers are responding to Oregonian’s call for action on the housing crisis that is causing displacement of families from their homes, driving up student and adult homelessness, and tearing apart communities. After today’s vote it will head to a full vote of the Senate and upon approval will go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SB 608 is an innovative approach to providing basic protections to people who rent their homes while maintaining a vibrant market to encourage new development. Here are highlights of the bill:
Limits no-cause evictions in Oregon. This protects renters who have been paying their rent on time and following the rules for at least a year from being evicted from their homes through no fault of their own.
Limits annual rent increases to be no higher than 7% plus inflation. Too often, landlords use repeated double digit rent increases to force out renters with lower incomes. This reasonable limit will prohibit these extreme economic evictions, will stabilize families and communities, and protects landlords and developers
To learn more and get involved, go to www.StableHomesOr.org