Portland, OR

Portland landlord raises rent almost 50 percent on low-income tenants

Beth Torres

Many residents of Portland assume that the government rent control laws prevent huge spikes in the amount a landlord can charge a tenant. However, there are some notable exceptions to the rent control law that can allow landlords to significantly increase a tenant’s rent. Even tenants living in affordable housing can be impacted by these rent increases.

For example, tenants in a North Portland apartment complex recently received notice that their rent was increasing upward of 50 percent. This is well above the state’s maximum allowed rent increase of 9.9 percent for 2022.

This video from KOIN 6 describes how tenants living in low-income housing apartments experienced rent shock when they received a rent increase notice from their landlord:

Exceptions to Oregon’s annual rent cap increase

What the tenants didn’t realize was there are exceptions to the rent cap increase that allow certain landlords to increase rent above the state’s maximum.

According to Oregon’s Senate Bill 608, which addresses rent control in the state, landlords of new construction buildings where the certificate of occupancy was issued less than 15 years ago may increase rents annually above the state’s maximum. This helps encourage developers to build new housing at a time when there is a statewide shortage of housing.

Initially, the landlord of the property did provide lower rent because they were part of a Portland program that gave them tax breaks in return for providing a set amount of affordable housing with lower rents in their complex. The nearly 50 percent rent increase is allowed, however, because the city’s tax break program follows the state rules that says owners of buildings that are less than 15 years old are exempt from the rent cap increase laws.

There are other exceptions to Oregon’s rent control laws, which you can find in Senate Bill 608 and in Oregon Association of Realtors’ Rent Control Summary.

What do you think about rent control laws?

Are they effective in making housing more affordable for tenants? Let us know your feedback in the comments section. And if you appreciate this content, please follow me on NewsBreak and like this article. Your support helps me reach a wider audience. Thanks so much for reading!

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