Could rent control ease pain of soaring PDX rates?

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With rent prices skyrocketing across the Portland metro area, many are campaigning for the controversial practice of rent control.

“I am currently a renter,” Tori Abernathy, who started Portland Renters’ Assembly, said. “I had some really horrible experiences with a landlord for a space I was renting.”

According to a recent Zillow study, rent in Portland is growing at twice the national rate.

Many of those struggling to keep up with the cost of living in the rose city have reached out for help. That’s why Abernathy said she started the Portland Renters’ Assembly.

While the group doesn’t think there is one perfect fix, there has been more and more talk about rent control in Portland.

KOIN 6 News found an online petition started by a frustrated student that already has more than 2,000 signatures.

Rent control, a tool used in other cities to cap how much a landlord can increase rent, is currently prohibited in Oregon. But some are working to change that.

Jim McNeeley with McNeeley Property Management said he doesn’t think the practice is a good idea. Most landlords agree.

“It’s just a nightmare for the property managers down in San Francisco,” McNeeley said. “I hope it never comes to Portland or to Oregon.”

Critics argue rent control causes investors to lose interest in buying and renting properties, which dries up supply and causes problems like poorly-maintained apartments.

But for those dealing with skyrocketing rents, you can hardly blame them for pushing for change.

“When I first moved here it was a lot easier to get a relatively affordable space,” Abernathy said.

So, what is the answer? Some say it is as simple as supply and demand. Despite the current boom in apartments, there still isn’t a big enough supply. Until there is, some say nothing will change.

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