**LEGISLATIVE UPDATE **
The flood gates opened this year with a tidal wave of bills targeting the rental industry. After many hearings, work groups and discussions with legislators here is where we sit on the most important bills. Thank you to all those who volunteered to write their legislators and/or testify to the committees. It truly made a difference.
This bill will require Housing Providers to allow Family Child Care in their properties. This bill is very popular and has bipartisan support. Housing Providers flooded legislators with letters and testimony. As a result, legislators created a workgroup to address Housing Provider concerns. We are expecting to see a draft addendum of negotiated changes addressing some of these concerns in the next few weeks.
This bill would eliminate a Housing Provider’s ability to terminate a rental contract for no cause. The last public hearing was on March 2nd, 2021. Housing Providers once again flooded legislators with letters and testimony letting their voices be heard. As a result, no new meetings have been scheduled for this bill.
This bill would mandate a uniform rental application and screening. A Housing Provider must accept this uniform screening from a tenant without the ability to verify the information. ORHA opposes this bill. This bill is scheduled for a work session on March 30th, 2021. Contact your local legislator, we need to prevent this bill from passing. Find who your local legislators are here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html
The original language of this bill was very one-sided. ORHA, in collaboration with other Housing Provider groups, requested a work group to discuss how we can make the bill more fair for everyone. Chair Jama then formed a small work group of Housing Providers and Tenant advocates. The work group was a positive experience and created a bill that was more fairly balanced. This bill will extend a grace period until Feb 28th 2022 on past due rents from the moratorium periods. It does not extend the moratorium. The language assuming all evictions to tenants with past due balances is retaliation from the Housing Provider has been removed. It allows tenants to have long term guests during this emergency period, but allows Housing Providers to screen them. The original bill did not allow screening. Because of the concessions made, ORHA and the other Housing Provider Groups are taking a neutral stance on this bill.
ORHA is in support of SB 330. This bill creates a safety net in the form of a tax credit for Housing Providers who are unable to receive unpaid rent from the pandemic period through the Landlord Compensation Fund or tenant based assistance. In a recent survey by DHM Research, 73% of Oregonians sampled support tax credits for Housing Providers who have lost rent due to the COVID pandemic. Let’s hope our legislators listen to their constituents. A public hearing and work session is scheduled for March 30th, 2021. Please write to your local legislator to show your support for SB 330. Find who your local legislators are here: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html
Despite the difficulty of being in the middle of a pandemic and working remotely, our voices have been heard. We may not be 100% happy with pending legislation, but we are in a much better position than when the session started. Thanks to all our members, our lobbyist and legislative team, we are no longer facing a mountain of one-sided bills that would harm the industry.
Legislative Director, Oregon Rental Housing Association