SALEM — The Department of Administrative Services set the maximum rent increase at 9.2% for 2021, preventing landlords from increasing rent any higher than the percent allowed. In 2020 the maximum allowed was 9.9%.

Senate Bill 608, which the Legislature passed in 2019, requires the Department of Administrative Services to calculate and post the annual rent increase percentage allowed by statute for the following calendar year by Sept. 30. The total is calculated by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, which takes 7% plus the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers to find the total.

Local property manager Ashley O'Toole said the John J. Howard & Associates' office will not change rent very much, as most rental increases occur when tenants move in and out.

Ranch-N-Home, La Grande, follows that same practice, office manager Mandy Kassien said.

"However, because of the pandemic we aren't seeing as many people moving in or out, so we aren't seeing rental prices changing," she said.

Century 21 property manager Rosa Goodman said the decision to increase rent and the amount to increase it is ultimately up to the property owner. If owners aren't able to make ends meet or are charging below the rental's market value, they may decide to increase rent during the lease, Goodman said.

But, she said, the pandemic affects these decisions.

"Right now, a lot of property owners are holding off on increasing due to COVID," Goodman said. "Many owners would rather stay below market rent value than try to find renters during COVID."

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