Oregon Rent Control: Senate Bill 608

Posted by: TheGuarantors on October 3, 2019

Earlier this year, Oregon passed sweeping legislation aimed at protecting tenants and underserved communities alike (the law in its entirety can be found here). We’ve seen this before (in New York and California), and understand the impact this can have on landlords. 

Oregon Rent Control Copy

Our team of experts knows that navigating these changes can be daunting, so we’ve dissected the bill and broken down the most important pieces. See below for the key provisions, what they mean for you, and how you can stay ahead of the curve:

  • Limits Landlords ability to implement so called “No-Cause” evictions. Landlords are now required to demonstrate “Just Cause” before evicting tenants that have lived in a unit for at least one year instead of the “No-Cause” eviction notice that Landlords relied on for decades.
  • Prohibits landlords from increasing rents by more than 7% (not including the CPI, which can average +/- 2.5%) in any 12-month span.

So, what does this mean for you?

The new “Just Cause” eviction standard puts the responsibility on the Landlord to demonstrate tenant wrongdoing at the outset. This means it will not only take longer to obtain an eviction, but it will also be more difficult to do so. This means that the potential downside to a risky renter just got a lot worse. Arrears will pile up while an eviction proceeding grinds its way through the slow(er) gears of justice, and landlords won’t be able to do much but wait (and pay legal fees).

Landlords are forced to accept shrinking profit margins in light of the 7% rent cap. With increasing property expenses and taxes, this means less money in your pocket. Adding to this shrinking profit pool is an increased risk of tenant default, which of course equals the dreaded bad debt.

Yikes! How can you stay ahead of this?

Like we said, we’ve seen this before. Our team has compiled some tips for our partners in other states impacted by rent reform that may be helpful to you. There is obviously no single right answer or solution, but you need to take some steps to (a) make it less likely that a lease will go bad and (b) get some insurance in the event things go south.

Increase approval standards

Only accepting renters with prime FICO scores (over 630) and strong debt to income ratios will reduce the likelihood of eviction, especially for the non-payment of rent. The downside here is that this is a cookie-cutter approach: it’s simple to apply, but it will exclude some quality renters. Also, raising approval standards will shrink the applicant pool.

Take more security

Many owners have already started taking up to two months of security deposit as a stopgap for potential losses. With renters already strapped for liquid assets, this is not an ideal solution from a leasing perspective, but will provide some extra protection in the event of default.

Bring in 3rd party risk management

A third-party risk partner (like us, for example) can help improve your frontend screening process, qualify more renters from a broader pool of applicants, and provide backend protection in the event of a default. TheGuarantors' Dynamic Lease Guarantee protects landlords against the risk of default by covering rent payments that the renter fails to pay. It’s an insurance policy that guarantees rent — from as little as 3 months rent to as much as the full value of the lease — depending on the landlord’s risk tolerance.

With a Dynamic Lease Guarantee, the cost of a potential eviction becomes our problem, not yours. Rather than turning applicants away because you’re unsure of the risk, you can qualify more renters — faster and with more confidence. Best of all, our Dynamic Lease Guarantee is dynamic. We use better data and modelling to efficiently price-to-risk so that we can provide exactly the amount of protection you need, while offering the lowest possible cost to your renters. Risk is our thing, and we innovate to make one-size-fits-all solutions a thing of the past.

We’re biased, but at TheGuarantors we genuinely think we can do better than just “tighter screening and more security.” Reach out to a member of our team to learn more about how we can help you qualify more renters with less risk.