What Rent Control Really Means

Posted by Livable Content Team on May 14, 2019 7:36:18 PM

At Livable we help property managers control costs and consumption using our Ratio Utility Billing System, so you can keep costs steady for renters as other monthly costs such as rent go up and down. Book a call with Livable today and learn how you can help tenants save resources and money too.


In 2019 Oregon became the first state in the nation to pass a statewide rent control bill. Overnight, housing providers throughout the state had to deal with a new set of restrictions on when and how much they can raise the rent, as well as new limits on no-fault evictions.


Of course, affordability is a real problem not just in Oregon, but as economists have shown over and over again, blanket rent control is not the answer—more housing is.


Rent control actually means fewer opportunities for development and in turn could mean an end to utilizing a smart utility billing program like Livable on your portfolio. In rent-controlled markets, owners can generally only institute a bill-back program unit-by-unit on turnover. That means rent control not only keeps housing costs high, it also disincentives tenant conservation. Yet these negative outcomes have not stopped the idea of rent control from spreading. 


Oregon Law

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law in 2019 - a new ordinance that immediately created rental restrictions throughout the state. Bill SB 608 went from committee to law in under one month, according to Oregon’s Statesman Journal, despite concerns from industry leaders that it would make housing issues worse.


“At best, SB 608 will have no effect, but at worst, it will make housing less affordable in the long run” - Multifamily NW Executive Director Deborah 


Among the new restrictions, rent increases are now only allowed annually and capped at 7 percent, plus the yearly change in CPI. For example in 2019, that effectively allows for a 10.3 percent increase. The legislation also largely did away with no-fault evictions, other than in certain specific cases such as the owner or their relative move in. All rental units, including single-family homes, are subject to the rent cap, but property owners who live on the property with no more than two units can still perform a no-cause eviction. 


Where California Stands

Condensed, AB 1482 is a statewide act that has two main functions - to limit rent increases and eliminate the right of landlords to evict tenants without just cause. In concern to rent increases, this law restricts the allowable annual rent increase to 5 percent plus a local cost-of-living adjustment of no more than 5 percent - for a maximum increase of 10 percent yearly. 


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Insulating water pipes is a quick and inexpensive way to lower water heating costs. This easy upgrade reduces heat loss and allows you to lower your entire buildings’ water temperature by two to four degrees. Water also doesn’t take as long to heat up, so less of this precious resource is wasted waiting for faucets and showers to get to the appropriate temperature.

On smaller buildings, this is an easy DIY job that can take less than a day to complete! Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for a comprehensive shopping list and step-by-step instructions.