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This state poised to be first to impose sweeping rent control

Governor Kate Brown and Portland (Credit: Getty Images and Unsplash)

Oregon is poised to become the first state to implement statewide rent control.

Lawmakers passed a measure that would impose limits across the state on how much landlords can raise rents, the New York Times reported. The legislation would limit increases to 7 percent annually plus the change in the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation.

Some newer and smaller buildings would be exempt, the report said. The move comes as states and cities across the country have struggled with housing affordability — with rents rising faster than wages. In Oregon, the median rent has increased by more than 14 percent statewide.

“There is no single solution — not one entity, or one person — that can solve Oregon’s housing crisis,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “This new legislation is one of many actions Oregon needs to take to address our housing crisis. While it will provide some immediate relief, we need to focus on building supply in order to address Oregon’s housing challenges for the long term.”

In New York, Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar submitted her first housing bill last month, which would pave the way for “universal rent control” in New York State. The “good cause” eviction bill is a proposed amendment to the state’s real property law and would prevent tenants in nearly any market-rate apartment from being evicted for not paying an “unconscionable” increase in rent.

Unconscionable is defined as an annual increase of more than 150 percent of the regional Consumer Price Index, as it stands in the month of August of the preceding year. The Salazar bill could effectively cap rent increases this year at just 3.3 percent at virtually every unregulated New York City rental apartment, and by similar amounts elsewhere.

Other cities are also considering legislation to tackle the affordability crisis. In Boston, there is a proposal for steep taxes on developers, and in Denver, the city is considering allowing for more carriage houses to be built. [NYT] — Meenal Vamburkar

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