New Rent Control Legislator Met with Mixed Emotions

Reported by Megan Stewart

During the school year, students usually prioritize their classes, friends, and work. Anything outside those spheres often goes unnoticed. Although an understandable predicament, many fail to realize the effect seemingly unrelated events can have on them. Take Oregon’s newest legislation, for example.

In late February 2019, while students began prepping for midterms, Governor Kate Brown signed the first statewide rent-control bill into law. Taking immediate effect upon Brown’s signature, this legislation prevents landlords from raising rent prices more than 7 percent each year, in dwellings older than 15 years.

It also outlaws “no-cause” evictions for residents who have rented at these establishments for over a year. If an eviction must occur, the law requires landlords to give tenants a 90-day notice and compensate them with one month’s rent.

While numerous cities in the U.S have already enacted similar regulations, especially large urban ones like Los Angeles and New York City, Oregon has taken the most progressive approach thus far.

Proponents of the bill say that the alternative method, relying on supply and demand, has proven to be detrimental to Oregon’s most vulnerable populations.

According to the Statesman Journal, prior to the rent-control bill’s passing, some rental prices had increased over 100%. This has left many Oregonians to sleep on the street, in their cars, or at friends’ homes. Others who managed to hold onto their housing still struggled to pay for tiny living quarters, even while living with multiple roommates.

The hope is that the bill will get people back off the street, while still encouraging growth in the business — hence the rent-control exemption for properties under 15 years old.

Not everyone believes it will improve the situation, however. Rather, they claim it will only make matters worse for everyone. Even with the exemption, critics claim the bill will decrease rental options, and their quality, as the financial risk for landlords becomes too great. Due to a recent influx in population, Oregon is already lacking in housing. Some suspect this bill will only enhance the issue.  

How does this affect GFU students specifically?

If this bill yields such a negative consequence, it could affect GFU students living off-campus or those who plan to in the future. With fewer complexes from which to choose, GFU attendees may need to live at home or on campus, which is usually more expensive. Price is one of the main reasons students rent from non-affiliated properties.

There is speculation, however, that lawmakers could propose a new bill to combat the lack of housing.

Only time will tell how this current legislation will affect Newberg’s college tenants.

Jessica DaughertyComment