As I’m sure you are aware, the Legislature and Governor have enacted a new Eviction Moratorium effective through the end of the June. The moratorium covers non-payment of rent and most “no cause” evictions.
One major difference between the new moratorium and previous ones is this: the protections of the new moratorium are not automatic; they must be requested by the tenant.
Some highlights of the new moratorium:
Attached is more detailed information about the new moratorium, including a fill-in-the-blank hardship declaration that tenants can fill out and give to their landlords to invoke coverage. A Spanish translation of the declaration can be found atwww.courts.oregon.gov. I will also pass along a Spanish translation of the attached information as soon as it is available.
As the year is coming to an end, it is as good a time as any to thank you for your service to the community.
Happy New Year,
Blair Bobier, Attorney at Law
Oregon Law Center, Legal Services
Lincoln County Office/Newport
NEW STATEWIDE EVICTION MORATORIUM RULES
There is a new statewide eviction moratorium (HB 4401) that will last until June 30, 2021. This means that, with limited exceptions, landlords cannot evict renters for nonpayment or without cause until July of 2021.
This handout describes the protections that exist everywhere in Oregon. There are different rules in Multnomah County that are more protective for renters. If you live in Multnomah County, visit www.OregonRentersRights.org for information about the Multnomah County eviction moratorium.
The protections for renters under the new statewide moratorium are not automatic!
To be protected from eviction for nonpayment after December 31, 2020, renters must fill out and sign a sworn declaration of financial hardship and give it to their landlords in order to be protected from eviction. A version of this declaration is attached to this handout.
Under the new moratorium, once a renter gives a signed declaration to their landlord, the landlord is not allowed to move forward with an eviction for nonpayment until after the moratorium ends. The renter only has to give the landlord this form once. If a renter has not already given their landlord a signed declaration, landlords are allowed to give termination notices based on nonpayment of rent, fees, or utilities. But the landlord must also give the renter information about the moratorium protections, with a copy of the declaration, and must accept a signed declaration from the renter if the renter isn’t able to pay the rent, fees or utilities.
The new statewide moratorium also allows landlords to give termination notices after the first year of occupancy if the landlord plans to demolish the rental, convert it to a different use, or make repairs that would require the renter to move out. Landlords are also allowed to give termination notices if the landlord has sold the rental to someone who plans to move into it, or if the landlord or a member of the landlord’s family plans to move into the rental. Landlords must give at least 90 days’ notice before terminating a tenancy for any of these reasons. Depending on how many rentals the landlord owns, the landlord may also have to pay the renter one month’s rent. The rules are different in Multnomah County.
Just like with the earlier moratoriums, the new statewide moratorium allows landlords to give termination notices and file for eviction if the renter violates the rental agreement or the rules, or does something dangerous, illegal, or outrageous on the property.
Renters who give their landlords a signed declaration will have until June 30, 2021, to pay back money that they owe. Renters who do not give their landlords a signed declaration will need to pay back rent from April 2020 through December 2020 by March 31, 2021. After the moratorium ends on July 1, renters will owe their landlords any back rent, fees, or utilities that built up during any of the moratoriums. Before the moratorium ends, landlords are not allowed to charge late fees or to report debt to credit agencies.
Help with back rent
The new statewide moratorium also includes money for landlords to help pay back part of the rent. If you owe rent, consider contacting your landlord to ask if they will apply for money to help pay back the rent. Landlords can contact Oregon Housing and Community Services for information for how to apply. And renters can apply individually for rent assistance by accessing community resources by calling 2-1- 1 or visiting www.211info.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can my landlord give me a nonpayment termination notice?
Yes. If a renter hasn’t given their landlord a signed declaration, a landlord can give a renter a notice of termination for nonpayment. But, the landlord must include with the notice a copy of a declaration for the renter to sign if the renter is unable to pay because of financial problems. The landlord also has to give the renter at least ten days to respond and return the declaration. If the renter signs the declaration and gives it back to the landlord, the landlord cannot file an eviction case until the moratorium ends on June 30, 2021. A copy of the declaration is at the end of this handout.
The rules are different in Multnomah County. In Multnomah County, landlords are not allowed to give nonpayment notices until the end of the Multnomah County moratorium.
What do renters have to do to be protected under the new statewide moratorium?
To be protected from eviction for nonpayment under the new moratorium, renters must fill out and sign a sworn declaration that says the renter can’t pay their rent, fees, or utilities because of a financial hardship. There’s a copy of the declaration that renters must sign at the end of this handout. After January 1, you can also find copies of the declaration at www.courts.oregon.gov.
A renter is protected from eviction for nonpayment if the renter gives a signed form to their landlord that truthfully says all of the following:
Does the reason I can’t pay my rent/ fees/ utilities have to be related to the COVID pandemic?
No. A renter can sign a declaration and give it to their landlord if the renter is experiencing financial problems for any reason, including issues related to the COVID pandemic, the Oregon wildfires, problems getting unemployment, or any other reason that has caused your income to go down or your expenses to go up.
Can the landlord require me to prove that I’ve lost income or had more expenses?
No. The only document that the landlord is allowed to require is the signed declaration. Renters do not have to provide additional documents or information.
What if I can’t sign the declaration?
If a renter can’t truthfully sign the declaration, the renter is not protected from eviction based on nonpayment of rent, fees, or utilities that come due after December 31, 2020. However, renters have until March 31, 2021, to pay back money that they owe from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.
Renters in Multnomah County do not have to sign a declaration. Multnomah County renters also have extra time to pay back the money that they owe their landlord.
How should I give the declaration to my landlord?
Renters can give their landlord the declaration in different ways, including:
Is my landlord allowed to give me a no cause notice?
Maybe. A landlord cannot use a no-cause termination notice. But under the new moratorium, even if the renter has given their landlord a signed declaration, a landlord is allowed to give a 90 day notice based on landlord reasons if the landlord:
I, ________________________________(tenant’s name), am a tenant at _____________________________ (tenant’s address).
I am unable to pay my obligations under the rental agreement because of one or more of the reasons below that have impacted me since March 16, 2020:
- Loss of household income;
- Increased medical expenses;
- Loss of work or wages;
- Increased child care responsibilities or responsibilities to care for a person with a disability or a personwho is elderly, injured or sick;
- Increased costs for child care or caring for a person with a disability or a person who is elderly, injuredor sick; or
- Other circumstances that have reduced my income or increased my expenses.Any public assistance, including unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance and other public assistance that I have received on or after March 16, 2020, does not fully make up for my loss of income or increased expenses.I understand that I still owe my rent, which must be paid by July 1, 2021.
I understand that I must comply with other obligations that I may have under my rental agreement.I hereby declare that the above statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief, and that I understand it may be used as evidence in court and is subject to penalty for perjury._______________________________________(tenant’s signature) ____________________________ (date)