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NEWS - 2023 Legislative Summary. New Protections Passed!

June 24, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


With passage of SB 611B today, the Oregon legislature passed the final policy in a package of bills to prevent and reduce homelessness that will have immediate benefits to the four in ten Oregon households who rent their homes.


This session, Oregon renters made their voices heard by showing up in Salem, testifying in person or remotely, writing letters, sharing their stories with media, and making sure that their lawmakers understood the actions needed to reduce economic displacement, prevent homelessness, and ensure people can stay safe and stable in their homes.


This session, the legislature passed the top priorities for The Stable Homes for Oregon Families coalition, including improvements to the law to reduce non-payment evictions, an allocation of more than $80 million for emergency rent assistance and displacement prevention services, and today, the passage of SB 611B to reduce extreme rent increases. These priorities are part of additional actions the legislature took to spur new housing development, increase services for homeless youth, add short-term shelter capacity, and support rehousing efforts for people forced to live outside.


“This has been a historic session to address the housing and homelessness crisis,” said Cynthia Aguilar-Arizmendi, Housing Justice Policy Coordinator at Unite Oregon. “State lawmakers and Gov. Kotek took decisive action to help renters today as the state builds for tomorrow. This package works together for immediate protections and long-term solutions.“


HB 2001’s eviction reforms include giving people more time after receiving a notice of non-payment before being taken to court to give people time to find rent assistance. It also requires that landlords accept payment at any point in the process and requires that eviction cases are dismissed if payment is made.


SB 611B puts a cap of 10% increase on the current Oregon rent stabilization law, which limits annual rent increases to 7 percentage points above inflation. Once the bill becomes law after the governor’s signature, new rent increases for properties older than 15 years will be capped at 10% instead of the current 14.6%.


“Once signed, SB 611B bill will provide for many tenants immediate relief for tenants in buildings that can have rent increases up to 14.6%.” said Kim McCarty, Executive Director of Community Alliance of Tenants. “Evictions should be rare and they should be fair. Rent increases should be reasonable and predictable, and when people need emergency rent assistance, it should be available. The state legislature made important progress on these protections this year.”


While rent stabilization protects all tenants, it has particular benefits for low-income tenants, seniors, people of color, women-headed households, persons living with disability and chronic illness, families with children, and others who have the least choice in the rental market and are most susceptible to rent gouging. People across the state praised its passage.

Ricardo Waites, executive director of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly testified in favor of SB 611.


“Because of inflation, Central Oregon renters have been seeing 14.6% rent increases, which increases our housing crisis, disproportionately affects people of color, and reduces our ability to diversify our community, “ said Waites. “Educators, healthcare workers, and people in the service industry are having a hard time making ends meet as well. This legislative package will help people in our community and make Central Oregon a better place to live and work.”


Robbin McMain drove more than five hours from Brookings to Salem to testify in favor of SB 611 and also spoke in favor of the eviction reforms that passed this session after her community of 55+ mobile home residents received a 14.6% rent increase.


“We hung together and made sure that lawmakers heard our voices,” said McMain. “Too many Oregonians are living just one rent increase away from homelessness. Urgent action was needed and we are relieved that we won’t be facing such extreme rent increases in the future.”


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Stable Homes for Oregon Families is a coalition of tenants, housing advocates, labor unions, education and health professionals, businesses, and other Oregonians who believe in the stability of home. We are a diverse coalition of people and organizations that recognize Oregon's opportunity to help solve the housing crisis and secure our future.


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