Legislative Update: Rent Control Revealed, Coalition Bill Negotiations, Disparate Impact Roll Back

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This is the first of many legislative updates for 2019.

 

There is an old saying coined by the Salem ‘Statesman Journal’ that during the Oregon Legislative Session “no man’s or women’s horse or home is safe.”  This certainly applies to the 2019 Legislative Session.

 

As many of you know the November 2018 General Election was not kind to landlords, property owners and business in general.  Democrats gained a number of seats at the expense of pro-landlord legislators.  As a result Democrats managed to gain enough seats to have a ‘super majority’ in both the House and Senate.  In the House Democratic numbers are close to near historic levels.

 

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek has referred to this upcoming legislative session as “TRANFORMATIVE”and that all the legislative battles of the past two or three sessions were a build up for this legislative session.  She has promised “BOLD” legislative action on Cap and Trade, Rent Control, Sentencing Guideline, Revenue (taxes!)….”  They have wasted no time in moving their agenda forward.  Here is a look at what is brewing in Salem.

 

Rent Control

 

House and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a rent control bill.  Here is a summary of the bill from “Willamette Week”:

 

http://www.wweek.com/news/city/2019/01/04/oregon-rent-increases-will-be-capped-at-7-percent-plus-inflation-under-the-concept-for-a-new-tenant-protections-bill/

 

We will likely get a look at a ‘hard copy’ of the legislation in early February.    There will be of hearings on this proposal as it moves forward and I am sure there will be changes.  This will be a hotly contested battle.  The legislation will start in the Senate - mostly likely the Rules Committee were Senator Burdick D-18 (Senate Majority Leader and a Portland Landlord) will have control.  In the last Legislative Session the rent control bill had no traction in the Senate thanks to Senator Rod Monroe.  What a difference an election makes - Rod was defeated last May in a Democratic Primary.  

 

MHCO will be providing alerts on hearings and details about the actual proposal once it is made public. The Willamette Week article gives a broad overview but comes up short on many specifics.  

 

Landlord-Tenant Coalition Bill

 

This is the 13th“Coalition Bill” that I have been involved in negotiating.  The “Coalition” meets once a month for three hours. Landlords and residents hash out potential legislative proposals.  The 2019 Landlord-Tenant Bill has been a work in progress for the past two years with 3 hour meetings every month. For landlords this provides an opportunity to work through issues and have real input on legislative proposals rather than leaving it to Legislative Committee Hearing that limits input to three minutes.   The Coalition Bill also comes with an agreement that there be no other landlord-tenant legislation except for rent control.  This has never been more important than this legislative session.  

 

The 2019 Landlord Tenant Coalition Bill will likely address the following:

 

  • Water Sub-metering – simplifying and clarifying the process.
  • Fees for some resident violations.
  • Shortening 30 Day notices when the violation is on-going. 
  • Mandatory Mediation for certain landlord-tenant and tenant-tenant disputes.

 

The Coalition Bill is still being negotiated.  MHCO is working with legal counsel to ensure that the legislation is as palatable to landlords as possible.  We will be providing greater details as we wrap up negotiations in February.

 

Homeowner Assistance

 

There will also be legislation proposed by Representative Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) on assistance to residents - specifically their homes.   There will be three bills on this issue - LC 2788, LC 2804 and LC 2802.  In her January 2019 Newsletter she summarizes these three proposals: "legislation to help parks that are for sale transition to nonprofit or cooperative ownership. Other bills will focus on support for homeowners who need to upgrade pre-1979 homes to meet new, energy efficient standards.”  There is no impact on landlords.

 

MHCO will be supporting these three proposals which indirectly will be a benefit to community owners and residents. 

 

Disparate Impact Roll Back

 

Finally, on the Federal level – confirmed by an article on January 3rd in “Washington Post” (click here: 

 

https://wapo.st/2F7CKfT?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.a0e1c6625264)

 

–the Trump Administration is planning to roll back “Disparate Impact” in Fair Housing.  

 

As many of you know – Disparate Impact is a hot topic in Fair Housing and one that is despised by landlords and community owners.  This is a big deal.  Likely changes will not require Congressional approval.  We are hoping for significant changes later this spring. MHCO will keep you apprised and it will obviously be a topic for discussion in upcoming MHCO Seminars.  

 

So – buckle up!  We have a lot of work ahead!

 

 

 

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