A proposed housing stability bill barring most no-cause evictions is one step closer to going to the Oregon Senate after undergoing another round of changes Wednesday.
House Bill 2004 lost its most controversial portion— a section repealing Oregon's ban on rent control— when it passed through the Senate Committee on Human Services in May. A new section allowing landlords to increase rent only once every 12 months was added.
During the Senate Committee on Rules work session, a series of amendments requested by committee chair Sen. Ginny Burdick, D- Portland, were tacked onto the bill.
The measure has proven contentious, with thousands of submitted testimonies and public hearings packed to capacity with tenants, landlords and community organizations.
The changes were the source of great negotiations between housing advocates and the Oregon Association of Realtors, Burdick said.
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Despite the negotiations, the realtors association declined to support the bill, but many of their comments were incorporated in the changes.
She called the end result a "well-balanced product."
The changes extended the probationary period for month-to-month tenancies from nine months to a year. Landlords would be able to readily use no-cause evictions during this period.
A section regarding damages for landlords who violate the eviction rules was also altered. Instead of being liable for three months' rent plus damages, violators would pay two months' rent or damages.
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An emergency would have been declared if the original bill passed, and it would have taken immediate effect. Wednesday's amendment removed the emergency clause. If passed, the changes would take effect 91 days after the Legislature adorns.
Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, moved to the Senate floor with a do pass recommendation.
Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, voiced his disapproval of the proposed bill during the roll call. "God, no," he said.
Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, also voted nay. Burdick and Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, voted yes.
Following the hearing, John VanLandingham, a longtime tenant lawyer and attorney with the Oregon Law Center, said he worked with Burdick to make sure the changes were acceptable to the coalition that supported the bill.
"We do still support the bill," he said.
The heart of the bill— protecting people from retaliation, homelessness, displacement and discrimination through no-cause evictions— remained intact, VanLandingham added.
"That's a huge improvement for tenants who will now have some certainty," he said.
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