A leading tenants rights group, Community Alliance of Tenants, is calling for closing the loophole that allows affordable housing landlords to raise monthly rents more steeply than what is allowed under the state's newly passed rent control law.
"CAT was disappointed when we found out affordable housing units were exempted," says Katrina Holland, executive director of Community Alliance of Tenants.
WW reported last week on a tenant in a subsidized building who had received a 16 percent rent increase—and revealed that the Oregon Legislature had failed to protect tenants in buildings that house some of the state's poorest renters.
In 2019, Oregon passed the nation's first statewide cap on rent increases. The bill mandates that buildings that were built more than 15 years ago cap rent increases at no more than 7 percent plus inflation (or about 10 percent) a year.
But Senate Bill 608 exempted subsidized housing on the premise that such housing would not likely see the high rent increases, given other regulations.
Holland says her group will seek to end that exemption.
"Yes, many affordable housing units are covered with rent-increase protections," says Holland. "CAT is glad to hear that legislative leadership is ready to protect our most economically vulnerable residents with additional protections for affordable units. It will be complicated, no doubt. We look forward to supporting efforts to fix this loophole, because we can't let any Oregonians slip through the cracks!"