Oregon tenant advocates fear eviction spike amid 14.6% rent hike cap

SALEM, Ore — Renter advocates in Oregon are sounding the alarm over a potential spike in evictions, following the state’s increase in the rent cap for next year.

On Tuesday, state economists shared that the most landlords can raise rent for Oregon renters in 2023 is up to 14.6% – the highest since the rule was established in 2019.

According to the law, landlords cannot increase the rent more than seven percent, plus the consumer price index (CPI), commonly known as inflation, for the west region from the previous year.

The CPI over the past twelve months was 7.6% – bringing the max increase to 14.6%. The rate is a nearly 5% jump from the 2022 rate of 9.9%.

“This is going to make a crisis even worse,” Kim McCarty, executive director with Community Alliance of Tenants based in Portland, told NBC5 Wednesday. “For someone paying the average rent in Oregon, that means they’ll see a more than $200 increase.” 

In 2019, Oregon became the first state in the United States to establish a cap on rent increases. It only applies to buildings that are 15 years or older.

McCarty emphasized that the rent cap rule was created to prevent landlords from drastically increasing rent. However, it was before the coronavirus pandemic and the economic hardships that followed in recent years.

“With all of these increases in costs, housing especially, many households are at risk of eviction,” McCarty said. “We clearly need to fix it. It’s not sustainable, so we definitely need all the protections in place to help tenants.”  

The Oregon Law Center Eviction Defense Project, reported a spike of around 2,000 people facing in eviction in August – a 45% increase from July per court records.

With more evictions expected in 2023 because of rising food and similar costs, McCarty noted that action to fight it is urgent.

 “We have the resources, we have the legislative tools, and we should use those to prevent any homelessness.” said McCarty. 

Below are important reminders provided by Stable Homes Oregon: 

Starting October 1, 2022:

  • The deadlines for moving out or being taken to court will be accelerated. Before October 1, 2022, renters have 10 days after receiving an eviction notice to remedy the situation before the landlord can take them to court. That notice period will be shortened to 72 hours starting October 1. Advocates are concerned that this accelerated timeline does not leave enough time to access rent assistance, seek advice or information, especially in languages other than English, or find a place to stay.
  • Less time to pay back rent. Starting October 1, landlords can refuse to accept payment 72 hours after giving an eviction notice. Currently, tenants have a reasonable amount of time to either dispute the allegation or make full payment at any time during the process.
  • The safe harbor from eviction to provide stability while an application for rent assistance was being processed and paid will expire on September 30, 2022. After that date, tenants can be evicted even if they have a pending application for rent assistance.

Additionally, the Oregon Law Center advises:

  • If you applied for rent assistance before July 1, 2022 and haven’t received it, you should contact the agency they applied through to see if they need anything else from you to speed up the application.
  • If your landlord takes you to eviction court, contact the Oregon Law Center Eviction Defense Project at 888-585-9638. Translation services are available.
Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]
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