MHCO Columns

Rent Increases Before New Rent Control Legislation Becomes Law

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Phil Querin

Question:  All indications are that the 2023 legislature is going to revisit the rent increase formula currently in effect, and once passed it would likely become law immediately upon the Governor’s signature. How can landlords deal with having already issued a September 2022 90-day rent increase notice if the 2023 rent cap is legislatively reduced before the landlord’s previously-issued September 2022 increase goes into effect?


Answer: Currently, ORS 90.600(2)(b) limits rent increases to 7% plus CPI (“Cap”) for any 12-month period. For 2023 that resulted in a Cap of 14.6%.[1] This amount surprised some, and we can fully expect the Oregon Legislature to pass a new law that could effectively reduce the Cap.


Note, that I do not read the law to limit rent increase after the first year of a month-to-month tenancy to only once per year – so long as the annual Cap is not exceeded in total. However, I believe that rent increase are generally limit to one-a-year by most Oregon MHP landlords.


Note also, that since ORS 90.600 only applies to periodic tenancies, i.e., month-to-month, the Cap does not apply to rent formulas in leases, i.e., fixed term tenancies. However, it has been my understanding that this was a legislative oversight in 2019; if so, the 2023 Legislature may change that, as well.


Currently, the text of ORS 90.600 provides that the landlord may not increase the rent (a) without giving each affected tenant notice in writing at least 90 days prior to the effective dateof the rent increase; and (b) during any 12-month period, in an amount greater than seven percent plus the consumer price index above the existing rent.


My reading of this is that so long as the rent does not exceed the Cap during a particular year – there is no limit on when the notice of 90-day increase may be issued. To put it another way, “increasing the rent” is not the same as “giving notice” of an increase in rent. There is no restriction against the frequency of the notices, just increases that exceed the applicable Cap.


For example, say word was out that the 2023 Legislature was going to dramatically reduce the Cap going forward. In my opinion, a landlord having already issued a 90-day rent increase notice in September 2022, effective January 1, 2023 (or later) would have two choices:

  1. Rescind the 2022 notice before it becomes effective, and re-issue a new 90-day notice for a different rent effective in 2023, so long as it was done before the effective date of the new legislation and did not exceed the 2023 Cap establish in 2022.


  1. Don’t rescind the earlier 2022 notice but issue a second rent increase notice that does not, in total, exceed the 14.6% Cap - so long as it is issued before the new 2023 legislation becomes effective.[2] Caveat: The 2-notice approach needs to make sure that the rental agreement or other park docs don’t limit increases to one per year.


Note that for both Nos. 1 and 2 above, the rent increase notice cannot be sent to any tenants who still have rent payments due on their first year of tenancy (including occupancy that may have preceded the signed rental agreement).


SB 608, the 2019 law amending ORS 90.600 and creating the Cap, applied to “rent increase notices delivered on or after the effective date of this 2019 Act.” In other words, the Legislature did not attempt to retroactively (and likely illegally) interfere with a rent increase that had already been issued before SB 608 went into effect.


Following that logic, should a landlord wish to rescind a 2022 90-day rent increase for 2023 and reissue a different one, it should be entirely legal so long as it is issued before the effective date of the legislation creating a new Cap.


Caveat: Landlords should check with their own legal counsel before rescinding any 2022 90-day notices or reissuing a second 90-day notice for 2023 rents under the 14.6% Cap.




[2] For example, a 5.00% increase notice issued in September 2022 and a second notice for something less than 9.6% issued before the 2023 legislation becomes effective.