April Renter Protections Update & State Budget Advocacy
Here are the most recent updates on tenant protections in Oregon and in Eugene. It's been a while, and we are just over half way through the legislative session. All eyes are turning to the state budget. In this blog post, we will update you on the rent cap bill, eviction protections, the state budget, and local protections in Eugene.
Rent Cap Update
Senate Bill 611, the Rent Cap Bill moved out of committee and was amended to adjust the current rent cap from 7% plus the consumer price index (CPI) to 5% plus CPI. This means the maximum increase would be capped at 10%, regardless of CPI.
The original bill would have capped the increase at 3% plus inflation and would have capped the total at 8% regardless of inflation, but it was amended to remove some tenant protections. Despite these changes, tenant groups are still supporting the bill, as they believe some action is better than nothing.
The amendments to the bill eliminated protections for tenants in newer buildings currently
exempt from Oregon's rent cap laws, which exempt buildings with a first certificate of occupancy issued within the last 15 years. The original bill would have changed that number to three, but that protection was gutted in the amendment. Additionally, the amendment eliminated a requirement that landlords provide three months' worth of rent when serving a tenant with a no-cause eviction.
We are awaiting a floor vote in the Senate.
Eviction Prevention Signed into Law
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed into law a bipartisan housing and homelessness package worth $200 million that includes House Bills 2001 and 5019. The package provides $30 million in immediate funding for eviction prevention, rent assistance, and state staffing costs. The remaining funding will become available on July 1. The package will be used to bolster rent assistance, expand shelters, protect homeless youth, catalyze housing development, and make several policy changes to address the affordable housing crisis. The bills passed through the state legislature with bipartisan support, and the emergency funding will be on top of any funding that makes its way into the general housing and homelessness budget for the coming two years. Service providers view the emergency funding as a down payment that will allow them to quickly scale up their work while they wait for typical state funding.
State Budget Advocacy Opportunities
Eugene Tenant Alliance supports investments in our communities that center racial, gender, and economic justice. With over $2 BILLION in reserves, state lawmakers have the funds to make critical investments in housing, child care, health care, and so much more. NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE THESE INVESTMENTS.
Instead, lawmakers are proposing saving even more money for a “rainy day.”
Join other progressive advocates for an equitable budget for the last stop of the “budget roadshow.” We’ll tell state lawmakers that we need these investments now. So many of our families have been impacted by the recession, inflation, and the pandemic. We can’t wait.
WHEN: May 3rd
Huddle at 3pm; line up at 4pm; hearing starts at 5pm
WHERE: Backsteps of the State Capitol (on State Street) in Salem
WHAT: Gathering + giving testimony; make and share your signs and stand together to amplify each other's voices for the investments our communities need NOW. We will have posters and stickers available!
If you are unable to join in person, you can still submit written testimony and show lawmakers your support!
This form - https://www.fairshotoregon.org/passthebudget will send an email to the right legislators in support of these important state budget considerations that will affect renters.
City of Eugene Renter Protections Update
We are pleased to provide you with an update on Phase II of the Renter Protections initiative. On March 13th, 2023, the City Council held a public hearing on the Phase II Renter Protections Draft Ordinance. This phase includes three essential protections for renters: limiting deposits to a maximum of two months' rent, processing applications in the order received, and providing relocation assistance. Moreover, the Phase II Draft Ordinance also requires eviction data reporting and provides for enforcement.
For those who missed the public hearing, the recording is available on the City of Eugene Public Meeting YouTube channel, and the Council packet for the public forum is accessible here.
We would like to inform you that a work session on the Phase II Renter Protections Draft Ordinance is scheduled for June 14th at 12 pm on the City Council Tentative Working Agenda.
Stay tuned for opportunities to meet with city councilors in a small group setting.
Personal Note from Editor
I would like to take a moment to apologize for not sending out an update recently. Due to my recent move, we encountered some unexpected challenges that caused a delay in our communication. We understand how important it is to keep you informed, and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused. I am now settled in my new home, and I am committed to keeping you up-to-date on all future developments. Thank you for your understanding, and we appreciate your continued support.