Portland Renter Protections in Wake of SB 608

Background to Portland’s Renter Additional Protections

The city of Portland estimates that more than half of renters are paying more than 30% of their monthly income towards rent. Almost half of Portland’s population consists of renters.

In October 2015, in response to rapidly rising rent across the city, the city of Portland introduced emergency renter protections. From October 2015 to March 2018 Portland City Council enacted several amendments to the original emergency measures, which have been codified as “Portland Renter Additional Protections,” Portland City Code section 30.01.085.

These protections include an expanded 90-day notice period for rental terminations and rent changes over 5%, relocation assistance for rental increases greater than 10%, and harsh penalties to landlords who violate the city’s code. Relocation assistance varies depending on the size of the rental unit and ranges from $2,900 to $4,500.

In addition, if a landlord violates Portland’s renter additional protection provisions, they can be liable to the tenant for an amount up to three times the monthly rent, plus actual damages, relocation assistance, and reasonable attorney fees.

Certain landlords can be exempt from following the provisions, but must first apply and obtain a waiver from the Housing Bureau.

While many residences claim a Portland address, not all properties are actually within the city limits, and thus are not subject to the renter additional protections. Portland Maps is the definitive tool used by the Housing Bureau to determine whether or not a property is subject to the renter protections. Click here to see if your property falls within Portland city limits.

Senate Bill 608

This January Senate Bill 608 (SB 608) was introduced to address the affordable housing crisis across the state. SB 608 sets a limit for the amount that landlords across the state can raise rent per calendar year.

Under SB 608, landlords are prohibited from raising the rent more than 7% plus the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as most recently published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2019, the maximum allowable rent increase is 10.3%. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services will calculate and post the allowable percentage for 2020 by September 20, 2019, and will continue to do so on an annual basis.

SB 608 was signed by Governor Kate Brown on February 28, 2019. Because the bill declared a housing emergency within the state, the bill became effective upon signing.

Portland Renter Protections After SB 608

Like many in Portland, you may be wondering whether renter relocation still exists after the passage of SB 608. If you are a tenant, you will be happy to learn that relocation assistance is still intact.

Last week, the Portland City Council met to amend the Portland Renter Additional Protections following the adoption of SB 608. The amendments made only slight technical changes to the existing code, and leave renter relocation assistance intact. The full text of the current renter protections can be found here.

Whether you are a renter or landlord, untangling the new rules that apply to temporary housing can be very tricky. If you’d like to speak with one of our attorneys regarding a rental property, click here to schedule a consultation online.