Answer: It is now statewide law that rents cannot be raised at all during the first year of a month-to-month or fixed-term tenancy. After the first year, you are required to give written notice to RV tenants at least 90 days prior to the effective date of the rent increase. In addition, fixed-term tenancy rent increases must comply with whatever terms are in the fixed-term rental agreement. (NOTE: Week-to-week tenants can have their rent raised at any timewith at least seven days’ written notice prior to the effective date of the increase.)
The written rent increase notice to all RV tenants must state (1) the amount of the rent increase; (2) the amount of the new rent; and, (3) the date on which the increase becomes effective. If the notice is mailed to the tenants, you must add at least three additional days to the notice period (not counting the date mailed) to allow for mailing. The mailing must be by regular, first class mail. Alternatively, the notice may be hand-delivered to tenants, but this means putting it directly in the tenant’s hand – posting the notice is legally ineffective.
Rent control also applies to rent increases for month-to-month and fixed-term RV tenants. During any 12-month period, rent cannot be increased by more than 7% plus the consumer price index (CPI) from the previous year above the existing rent. The CPI and maximum rent increase are calculated by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and published annually in September to set the maximum rent increase amount for the following calendar year. The maximum rent increase for month-to-month and fixed-term RV tenants in 2020 is 9.9%.
A landlord who increases rent in violation of the rent control limits can be found liable to a tenant for three months’ rent, plus actual damages suffered by the tenant, plus attorney fees and court costs. However, the rent control limits do not apply if: (1) The first certificate of occupancy for the tenant’s RV space was issued less than 15 years from the date of the notice of a rent increase, or (2) the RV park is providing reduced rent to the tenant as part of a federal, state or local program or subsidy. If one of these exemptions applies, the landlord must state facts supporting the exemption in the rent increase notice to the tenant if the rent increase exceeds the maximum allowable amount.
Finally, be aware that special rules apply within the city limits of Portland. By city ordinance, a rent increase of 10% or more within a rolling 12-month period triggers the tenant’s right to receive a “relocation assistance” payment from the landlord. These payments are based on the size of the rental unit and start at $2,900. It is questionable whether the ordinance as written applies to RV tenancies. However, if you ever intend to issue a rent increase of 10% or more within the City of Portland, you should first consult with a knowledgeable attorney to assess the risk of being subject to relocation assistance payments.