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It didn’t take long for rent control to rear its ugly head again and this time it’s in the State of Oregon, Many of you will remember the scare in California last fall with the potential repeal of the 1995, Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (CHRHA) that was on the November ballot. The CHRHA is a 1995 state statute that limits the use of rent control in California and provides that cities cannot enact rent control on (a) housing first occupied or built after February 1, 1995, and (b) housing units where the title is separate from connected units, such as condominiums and townhouses. CHRHA also provides that landlords have a right to increase rent prices to market rates when a tenant moves out and this is called “vacancy de-control.” Prior to the enactment of CHRHA, local governments were permitted to enact rent control, provided that landlords would receive just and reasonable returns on their rental properties.

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Voters in California handily defeated the repeal of CHRHA, and landlords breathed a big sigh of relief. However, rent control legislation is not going away and the State of Oregon in May of this year approved a statewide rent control law, the first in the country. The new law caps rent hikes at the annual increase in the consumer price index (CPI) plus seven percent. For the remainder of 2019, the maximum rent increase has been calculated by the state at 10.3%. The rent control measure does not apply to buildings that are less than 15 years old or to government-subsidized units. The new Oregon law also bans evictions without cause and allows rents to rise to market when a unit is vacated, which, as explained above, is called vacancy de-control.

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