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Oregon could become first state to mandate rent controls


Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said she looks forward to signing the bill

George Rose/Getty Images

Oregon could soon become the first state to impose mandatory rent controls, with a tenant protection measure moving through the state's Legislature.

The legislation is headed to the full chamber after being backed by a House committee on Wednesday. A vote could take place as early as next week, according to The Associated Press. The Senate passed the measure last week.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has indicated she would sign the bill.

"I look forward to signing the bill," Brown told reporters.

Residents testified about hardships caused by rising rents. Some said they've been forced to move in with friends or live in their cars, according to reports.

Oregon's housing shortage has worsened in recent years as more people have relocated to the state.

Last year, it was ranked as the second highest moving destination behind Vermont, according to a United Van Lines study.

What are the details of the measure?

If passed, the law would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants on month-to-month leases without cause after 12 months of occupancy.

Rental rate increases would be limited to once per year and limited to 7 percent above the annual change in the consumer price index, the AP reported.

Landlords would be able to refuse renewal of fixed-term leases to tenants with three lease violation warnings but they must provide the tenant with 90 days' notice.

"I believe most landlords will be able to adapt and operate within the parameters," said Jim Straub, Oregon Rental Housing Association legislative director.

What do the bill's opponents say?

State Sen. Tim Knopp (R) voted against the bill last week, saying that it doesn't address the housing shortage in the state, according to the report.

Do other states have similar laws?

New York has a statewide rent control law but it allows cities to decide whether or not to participate. Critics of the law have argued that its implementation in New York City has contributed to a real estate shortage and stymied real estate development.

California has a law that restricts cities' ability to impose rent controls.

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