PORTLAND, Ore. — Despite rent control legislation passed by Oregon lawmakers in 2019, most people who rent could be facing a rate increase of up to 14.6% next year. But those who live in the city of Portland may be eligible for relocation assistance depending on how much their rent goes up.
The state's rent increase cap is 7% plus the consumer price index, a measure of inflation. With inflation skyrocketing in the past year, this will be the biggest rate hike since rent control began three years ago.
It means an apartment that costs $1,500 a month in Portland would go up to more than $1,700 if a landlord instituted the maximum increase. It's also worth noting the cap only applies to housing that's at least 15 years old; it does not apply to newer housing.
That kind of rent hike is likely to force many renters to move somewhere cheaper, but there is some good news.
According to the Portland Housing Bureau, those who live in Portland can request mandatory renter relocation assistance if their rent goes up by more than 10% in 2023.
It would require a landlord to help pay for moving expenses. The amount they would have to pay depends on the unit size.
For a studio, they would pay $2,900. For a one-bedroom apartment, it's $3,300. A two-bedroom jumps up to $4,200. Anything three bedrooms or larger would be a $4,500 payment.
There are some important exceptions to be aware of.
In addition to living in the city of Portland, a renter cannot live with their landlord and their lease needs to be month-to-month or longer; if the landlord is actively serving in the military and a person is renting during their tour of duty, that renter doesn't qualify; a person does not qualify if they are being evicted with cause.
It's also important to remember that this only applies to people who want to relocate; staying means paying the rent increase of up to 14.6%.
Christian Bryant, president of the Portland Area Rental Owners Association, told KGW he does not believe most landlords will raise their rents that much, but it's likely that people will see a jump.
To put it in perspective, the average rent increase for apartments covered by the state's rent cap law has only gone above 10% once, and that was back in 2015. That is an average though, and there were certainly numerous tenants hit with increases of more than 10% that year.
If you have questions about Portland's mandatory renter location assistance program, call the city's rental services office at 503-823-1303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.