Governor Brown must Act NOW to solve Oregon’s COVID-19 Rental Housing Crisis
Updated August 30, 2021:
Beginning Monday Aug 30, 2021, messages will come from the [email protected] email account to all Compensation Requests that have been successfully submitted. The email will include:
- The CR number, property number / location
- Current status:
- whether their CR has been assigned to a Housing Authority,
- whether it has been paid (by electronic transfer or check) / OR is it awaiting payment (by electronic transfer or check) / OR is it still needing to be finalized.
- Repayments: indicating that if they find the LCF funding to be incorrect / duplicated that they should reach out to [email protected] to do so. (and that we generally are not allowing full repayment of LCF once the grant agreement has been finalized, but that corrections are fine).
- 20% Payment: indicating that we will be sending the 20 percent payment amount on to the housing authorities in the coming weeks for payment, and that when that has been done they will get an email with the accounting of that payment along with the amendment to their grant agreement.
The Landlord Guarantee Program:
This fund is to compensate landlords for nonpayment that accrues during the ‘safe harbor’ period required under SB278. The fund is first come first serve and can cover up to 60 days of nonpayment. The application period for this fund is open and accessible to you if:
- Your tenant provided you (landlord) with documentation from a rent assistance provider that they applied for rent assistance between July 1, 2021 and Feb 28, 2022; and
- You delayed delivering a Termination Notice for Nonpayment, or delayed initiating or continuing an action for possession based on a termination notice for nonpayment for 60 days as required by State law (90 days if you live in Multnomah County) , and
- You accumulated nonpayment during the “safe harbor” period, and
- The tenant lives in Oregon.
If you meet this criteria, you can submit an application to cover nonpayment that accrued during the “safe harbor period” after 60 days have passed since you received the documentation of application from your tenant.
Because Landlords must wait 10 days to file for an eviction due to non-payment of rent, the earliest this fund is likely to be available to you will be Monday Sept. 13th (and that is only if a tenant gave you documentation from a rent assistance provider that they applied for rent assistance between July 1 and July 10th!). Their website is http://www.homeforward.org/LGP
The Director of Policy and Planning for HOME FORWARD will be the Guest Presenter at this month’s Member Meeting (via Zoom) on September 15, 2021 at 6:00 pm and will be giving our members a hands-on tutorial of how to apply for the funding! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW
Updated August 05, 2021: *** THERE ARE IMPORTANT UPDATES TO TENANT LANDLORD LAW – see below.
Oregon’s Eviction Moratorium ended June 30, 2021. There are the 3 new bills that have become law during the 2021 Legislative Session that all Housing Providers NEED TO KNOW. SB 278 – the Safe Harbor bill that pauses evictions for 60 days. SB 291 – the Individualized Assessment that is required prior to denying applications to rent, based on criminal background. SB 282 – the Forgiveness Extension that allows Tenants until Feb 28, 2022 to repay “Covid-owed rent”.
Multnomah County has passed Ordinance 1296 requiring tenants be allowed 90 days of Safe Harbor from eviction.
The CDC announced the Federal Eviction Moratorium is extended through July 31, 2021. However, their ruling states that “The Order does not apply in any states… that have in place a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the Order”. While this may be subject to other interpretation, it seems that Oregon’s measures meet that threshold, making the Federal Order mostly non-consequential.
Click here to find Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance – available to Tenants who owe past and current rent.
Click here for the Landlord Compensation Fund –
Samples of NEW FORMS needed as of July 1, 2021 can be seen by clicking on the links here:
SB 278 “Safe Harbor” Measure: Prevents landlords from delivering termination notices for nonpayment of rent if tenants have applied for rental assistance, (Emergency measure effective 7/1/2021 and sunsets on 3/1/2022). Analysis:
Provides that if a tenant provides a landlord with documentation that the tenant applied for rental assistance, then the landlord may not deliver a termination notice for nonpayment.
Allows landlords to initiate or continue eviction action 60 days from the time that tenant has delivered documentation of rental assistance application.
- Clarifies court judgement process and court discretion regarding scheduling a first appearance based on landlord and tenant compliance with the provisions of this Act.
- Clarifies that landlord participation in a rental assistance program is not exclusive to the Landlord Compensation Fund.
- Allows tenant to obtain injunctive relief if a landlord fails to comply with notification requirements as provided by this Act.
- Requires the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) to translate the notice form into Spanish, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese languages and to display links to the forms prominently on the OJD main webpage. The measure also requires OJD to prepare a summary of the bill and deliver a copy of the summary to each circuit court for posting at the counter and website.
- Requires the Housing and Community Services Department (HCSD) to provide a dated application receipt for tenants who apply for rent assistance.
- Increases the amount a landlord is eligible for to 100% instead of 80% of funds under the Landlord Compensation Fund. HCSD is directed to make distributions to adjust the compensation for landlords whose applications were approved before the effective date of this Act.
- Provides for a grant to a third party (not HCSD) to make distributions to compensate landlords who have delayed termination notices or evictions under the provisions of this measure. This requirement sunsets on March 1, 2023 (Aligning timeline with extension of grace period for repayment until February 28, 2022).
The following written Disclosure must be given to Tenants who are delinquent on rent prior to filing for eviction:
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS TO PROTECTION AGAINST EVICTION FOR NONPAYMENT. For information in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese or Chinese, go to the Judicial Department website at www.courts.oregon.gov. Until February 28, 2022, if you give your landlord documentation that you have applied for rental assistance at or before your first appearance in court, you may be temporarily protected from eviction for nonpayment. Documentation may be made by any reasonable method, including by sending a copy or photograph of the documentation by electronic mail or text message. “Documentation” includes electronic mail, a screenshot or other written or electronic documentation verifying the submission of an application for rental assistance. To apply for rental assistance, go to: www.oregonrentalassistance.org, or dial 211 or go to www.211info.org. To find free legal assistance for low-income Oregonians, go to www.oregonlawhelp.org.
SB 291 Requires adoption of new screening criteria, limits criminal behavior landlord may consider, requires landlord to conduct Individualized Assessments before denial (Effective 9/24//2021 and is a permanent change with no sunset date). Analysis:
- Requires landlords to provide written notice of screening and admission criteria upon requiring applicant screening charge.
- Clarifies that a landlord inform an applicant of applicant right to appeal a negative determination, provided that any right to appeal exists.
- Clarifies that a landlord must provide written notice explaining reasons for denial only for those applications to which screening and admissions criteria have been applied.
- Clarifies that a landlord may only consider criminal convictions or pending charges for conduct that is currently illegal under Oregon law.
- Allows landlords to consider applicant’s previous arrest only if the arrest resulted in certain charges for criminal conduct as provided by this Act, and the applicant was either convicted of the charges or the charges are pending and the applicant is not presently participating in a diversion, conditional discharge, or deferral of judgement program on the charges.
- Prior to denial, must conduct an individualized assessment of the applicant, including any supplemental evidence, taking into consideration:
- (A) The nature and severity of the incidents that would lead to a denial;
- (B) The number and type of incidents;
- (C) The time that has elapsed since the date the incidents occurred; and
- (D) The age of the individual at the time the incidents occurred
- If a landlord fails to comply with this section, the applicant may recover from the landlord $100
SB 282 Extends the “forgiveness period” for rent owed during the Eviction Moratorium, prohibits landlords from restricting Temporary Occupants, (emergency measure effective 5/19/21 and sunsets on 3/1/2022).
Tenants are granted a grace period to repay any rent and utilities owed during the Emergency Period without penalties or late fees lasting until February 28, 2022.
- Payments received from July 1, 2021 until February 28, 2022 by a tenant who owes charges that accrued during the Emergency Period (“covid charges”) must be applied first to current rent before being applied to the outstanding covid charges.
- Housing providers may not report tenant non-payment of rents accrued during the Emergency Period to consumer credit agencies.
- Housing providers may not consider non-payment of rents during the Emergency Period when evaluating a rental application.
- Housing providers are prohibited from imposing restrictions against tenants’ guests and or temporary occupants based on the maximum duration of stay in a tenant’s dwelling and enforcing lower maximum occupancies than those established by federal, state, or local laws.
- Housing providers may require Temporary Occupancy Agreements to be signed by all guest and may screen guests using standard criteria, except for credit-related indicators.
- Penalties allowed to tenants for housing providers’ violations:
- damages of 3 months’ rent along with actual damages and attorney fees,
- defense to eviction for housing providers’ failure to comply,
- ability to seek injunctive relief to regain possession of the premises,
- fines for retaliation increased from 2 months’ rent to 3 months’ rent or 3 times the actual damages incurred by tenant.
On August 3, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued an extension of their existing temporary ban on Landlords taking action against residential Tenants for nonpayment of any charges through October 3, 2021. As a federal requirement, this applies in all states.
As a reminder, the CDC Moratorium prohibits landlords from evicting any “covered persons” for nonpayment during the covered period (currently through October 3, 2021). A “covered person” is a residential Tenant who provides their Landlord with a declaration containing several statements. If you have received a CDC declaration from a tenant at any time, you may not evict a tenant for rent, utilities, late fees, or other amounts incurred related to use of the premises. This applies even if you issued a notice for nonpayment but have not yet evicted the tenant. If you have already initiated an eviction action and then receive the declaration, you may not proceed in the action, although you are not required to dismiss the case. While there is a standardized CDC form that tenants can use, the tenant need not use it as they may instead provide a signed statement with all of the required elements or simply state that they meet the definition of a “covered person.”
Persons who violate the CDC moratorium may be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or one year in jail if the violation does not result in death, or a fine of up to $250,000 and/or one year in jail if the violation results in death. An organization, such as a property management company, who violates the CDC moratorium may be subject to a fine of up to $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in death and $500,000 per event if the violation results in death. For these reasons, we strongly encourage members to implement procedures and safeguards to ensure all declarations received from tenants are flagged and highlighted in the tenant file.
While the CDC order only applies in counties experiencing “substantial” or “high” levels of community transmission of COVID-19, in Oregon and Washington that currently applies to nearly every county and over 99.9% of tenants. The following link to the CDC risk tool identifies the counties and their respective levels of community transmission:
If you have any doubt about whether a tenant has provided you with documentation that triggers the CDC protections, we highly recommend that you seek legal advice to resolve the issue.
This article is not intended as legal advice. Please obtain advice of an attorney for any policy change or decisions regarding residential and commercial Landlord-Tenant matters.