Rep. Shemia Fagans son making sure Gov. Brown is signing the right bill.
Rep. Shemia Fagan's son making sure Gov. Brown is signing the right bill. Oregon State Legislature

Oregon is now home to the country's first statewide rent control bill.

“This bill is a critical tool for stabilizing the rental market throughout the state of Oregon,” Brown told reporters before signing the bill into law this afternoon. "It will provide immediate relief to renters struggling to keep up with the rising rents in a tight rental market."

The bill, which moved quickly through both the House and Senate chambers, will go into effect immediately. The law will cap annual rent increases at 7 percent CPI (a measure of inflation which currently hikes that cap up to 10 percent) and ban no-cause evictions for tenants who've lived in a rental for at least a year.

Tenant advocates have been divided on whether or not the bill do enough to ruffle the status quo—some argue that the cap is impractically high and doesn't do enough to help tenants who have been evicted by their landlord for one of the bill's approved reasons (like a landlord's intent to move into the house or renovate the property).

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Brown address this frustration this afternoon. "I think, like a number of public policy measures, that this is a compromise," she said. "Folks came to the table and worked out a solution that would work for the rental housing markets."

Asked if the cap might be lowered in the future, Brown said that will depend on the data she's asked the legislature to collect in 2021 on who the law has benefitted.

Brown stressed that these protections won't work in a vacuum: She wants Oregon lawmakers to pass the $400 million in her requested budget for more affordable housing and homelessness prevention.