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COOS COUNTY — Legislation giving Oregon renters protection from no-cause evictions and rent increases passed the Oregon House last Tuesday and quickly made its way to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for signature.

Passage of Senate Bill 608 came after six years of working with legislative leadership, tenant organizations, landlords, advocates and community groups.

SB 608 protects tenants who have been paying their rent on time and following the rules for at least a year from being evicted from their homes through no fault of their own.

The legislation also limits annual rent increases to be no higher than seven percent, plus inflation.

According to the group Stable Homes for Oregon Families this limit will prohibit economic evictions, work toward stabilizing families and communities, and is workable for landlords and developers.

“Passage of SB 608 shows that lawmakers recognize that renters in rural Oregon have literally been left out in the cold during the housing crisis. Now fewer children across Oregon will be showing up at school after spending the night in a shelter, a car or a tent. Fewer people will face the silent discrimination and retaliation of no cause evictions. Fewer seniors will skip their medications because they had to make a choice between paying for rent or a prescription,” says Michelle Glass, director with Rogue Action Center.

While the legislation makes great strides for tenants in Oregon, many property owners are not fond of it.

“SB 608 does not allow for equality on both sides of the coin,” Kristin Smith with Grand Management Services, Property Management in Coos Bay, North Bend, Bandon, and Coquille said. “It’s not just about rent control, it’s about putting restrictions on what you can do with your property that you own.”

According to Smith, prior to this legislation landlords could not give a no cause eviction notice within the first 12 months.

“Landlords in some instances now have to pay relocation expenses, when tenants aren’t even locked into a year’s lease,” Smith said.  

Locally, many property owners who do business through local property management companies have shown great concern regarding the new law.

“We’ve had several owners call, they’re very concerned. Our clients are very concerned about this,” Smith said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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