Contact: Mike Westling, (503) 498-8161
As amended in the Oregon House, HB 2004 strikes a balance between the rights of tenants and landlords
Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Senate held its first hearing Wednesday on legislation to help keep Oregon families in their homes by requiring statements of just-cause for evictions and repealing the statewide prohibition on modern rent stabilization policies.
The version of the bill considered by the Senate Human Services committee was amended and approved by the Oregon House last month. As amended, HB 2004A balances protections for tenants and landlords by exempting small landlords and reduce the relocation expenses that landlords are required to pay when they evict tenants without cause.
“When I walk through my district, I hear stories of unconscionable rent increases and no-cause evictions, plaguing families in every neighborhood,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, representing SD 25 and serving Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview, and Wood Village. “That is why passing House Bill 2004 is so critical. Banning no-cause evictions will help keep families in their homes and give children a better chance at success.”
As housing demand rapidly outpaces supply, no-cause evictions and triple-digit rent increases have become increasingly common for the 40 percent of Oregonians who rent, upending their lives and breaking their budgets. Extremely low vacancy rates mean that families who have been evicted without cause or forced out by rent increases cannot find new units that they can afford, and many renters who have had stable housing are suddenly facing homelessness.
“In the 2015-16 school year, nearly one in ten students in the Reynolds School District in my district experienced homelessness,” said Representative Diego Hernandez, representing House District 47 and outer Northeast Portland. “Kids need safe and stable housing in order to focus on their school work. When families are impacted by no-cause evictions or rent increases, everyone suffers – our kids, our parents, our schools, and our communities. The Oregon Legislature should act to pass HB 2004A to protect Oregon families from displacement and evictions without a cause.”
“This bill is going to help keep families in their homes while preserving the rights of property owners,” said Beth Kellan, a Portland-area Realtor® and landlord. “If you’re a landlord, you can still make a healthy return on your investment, but not in a way that kicks people to the curb. To be honest, most responsible landlords aren’t jacking up rents by 100% anyway so this won’t affect them. If you want to evict a tenant – you can still do that. This bill just requires that you have a valid reason for it and that you share that reason with the tenant who is being evicted.”
Patti Jay, a veteran and cancer survivor, was shocked to be evicted from her Milwaukie, Oregon home without cause. She had met all the terms of her lease and was a good tenant. She and her children were left scrambling to find a new place to live.
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” said Jay. “The law needs to be changed to protect families like mine."