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1/12/17 Housing Bills Proposed for Portland in 2017

System - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Update for Portland Landlords







6 Housing Bills Proposed

in the 2017 Oregon Legislature

What it is:

6 housing bills have been proposed in the 2017 Oregon Legislature, addressing rent control, no-cause evictions, the homeless, property taxes, rent guarantees, and low-income home ownership. House Bill 2001 would repeal Oregon’s ban on rent-control measures, and would cap rent increases statewide at 5 percent through July 1, 2018.  Alternatively, House Bill 2003 would rescind the ban on local regulation of rents without imposing a cap on rent increases. House Bill 2240 would prohibit landlords from terminating a month-to-month tenancy without cause.  Some exceptions include if the landlord or their immediate family is moving in, or if the home will be undergoing major renovations.  In these cases, the landlord would be required to provide 90 days’ notice, as well as relocation assistance equal to three months of rent. House Bill 2215 would allow people who are homeless to use publicly owned spaces in the same manner as anyone else, including resting and eating.   

Senate Bill 151 would create a homestead property tax exemption.  This legislation would exempt the first $10,000 of a home’s value from property taxes. House Bill 2724 would direct the Housing and Community Services Department to create a Rent Guarantee Program, which would help landlords who rent to low-income tenants in the even their rent isn’t paid or the property is damaged. House Bill 2570 would allocate $25 million to create grants, administered by the Housing and Community Services Department, for low-income homeownership programs.

Why it’s important:

House Bill 2001 would cap rent increases, which would limit property owners’ ability to keep rents at market rates.  This could discourage future residential development, while also discouraging current owners from making investments in their rent-controlled properties.   A better alternative to rent control is to increase housing supply.  House Bill 2570 does aim to stimulate this by providing direct assistance to needy renters, increasing their purchasing power and enabling them to purchase homes.  Another complement to this would be targeted programs to subsidize the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing.   

House Bill 2724 could benefit homeowners (and increase housing opportunities by low-income tenants) by creating a rent guarantee program.  In the event that a low-income tenant damages a property or does not pay rent, the program would reimburse landlords for damage, unpaid rent, and eviction costs.  Financial assistance would be limited to a maximum of $5,000 per landlord, and only for costs incurred during the first 12 months of a tenancy.  In order for landlords to be eligible, the tenants would have to complete a tenant training and certification process in advance of the tenancy, while also meeting low income requirements and demonstrating other barriers to obtaining housing (poor credit, criminal background, prior evictions).  



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