Oregon is one of five US states with rent control laws in place. Each year, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis calculates and publishes the maximum allowable rent increase allowed for the following year. The figure is set at 7% plus the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the West Region, or 10%, whichever is lower.
For 2023, the allowable annual rent increase for notices issued before July 6th was 14.6%. In 2022, it was 9.9%. So, the rent increase limit fluctuates based on the cost of living in the western United States, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even though Oregon has some of the strictest rent control laws in the country, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Buildings less than 15 years old are not subject to the rent increase limit, so the laws won’t deter new construction. Government-subsidized rents are also not subject to the same rent control laws, and there is no rent increase limit if the tenant chooses not to renew their lease.
Landlords can raise the rent whenever they like for any reason as long as they provide the proper notice and abide by the lease terms. They cannot increase the rent during the first year of tenancy or during the fixed term of the lease unless there is a specific clause that allows an increase. So, if you have a lease for one year, the landlord can only raise rent once per year unless it’s explicitly stated in the contract.
It’s also important to note that landlords in Oregon are not allowed to increase the rent for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the housing market based on race or color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, familial status, or disability.
Oregon state law also prevents rent increases from being used as a method of retaliation. For instance, if you reported the landlord to the city for a building code violation and they decided to suddenly raise your rent. If you believe your rent increase is due to discrimination or retaliation, you should file a complaint with the appropriate agency or even seek legal representation if the discrimination is severe.
Except for week-to-week tenants, the landlord cannot raise the rent within the first year of tenancy. After the first year, they must provide a minimum of 90 days’ notice that the rent will increase. They must also provide written notice of the rent increase, which must be hand-delivered or sent by first-class mail. The notice must state how much the rent is increasing and what the new rent will be. It must also clearly state the date the new rent will go into effect and explain why the rental unit is exempt from the Oregon rent increase limit.
Portland has a few additional rent control measures in place to protect tenants. For instance, if the rent is set to increase above 10% within any particular 12-month period and the tenant decides to move as a result, the landlord must provide them with rental assistance to help pay for their move. The amount of rental service the landlord is required to provide varies depending on the size of the unit:
- $2,900 for a studio or single bedroom in a larger apartment
- $3,300 for a 1-bedroom unit
- $4,200 for a 2-bedroom unit
- $4,500 for a 3-bedroom unit
Plus, if landlords plan to charge any no-refundable fees (for smoking violations, damage to the property, etc.), it must be clearly stated in the lease, along with the amount per violation. Beyond that, the same maximum rent increase limits also apply.
Oregon has some of the strictest rent control laws in the country and has several measures in place to protect tenants from raising rents. So, if you are a tenant in Oregon, it’s crucial to know these laws to better understand your rights, and if you’re a landlord, it’s crucial to know the rules so you don’t break them.