COVID-19 Industry Update March 18, 2020

Dear Members,

As you are aware from watching the news as it relates to COVID-19, our industry is changing by the minute.  Multifamily NW is committed to communicating with our members to give them the most current information possible. The following is not intended to be legal advice. If you are unsure of how this impacts your situation please contact an attorney.

  1. Federal Government
    1. On March 13, 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak is declared a national emergency
  2. State of Oregon
    1. On March 8, 2020 Governor Brown declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19
    2. Oregon Judicial Department issued an order imposing “Level 3” restrictions on all court operations through March 27, 2020 with the possibility of extensions. The order addresses all FED proceedings in the following ways:
      1. All first appearances for evictions will be postponed without the need for a motion.
      2. All parties who are required to appear on the date set by summons shall be deemed to have appeared, and no answer shall be required at that time. When the date for first appearance is rescheduled by the court, all parties shall appear at such first appearances in person on the date set.
      3. Trials currently set will be postponed, though a Landlord may file a motion for the Tenant to pay rent into court.
  3. Oregon Counties
    1. Multnomah County:
      A temporary moratorium on all residential evictions in Multnomah County for tenants on the bases of nonpayment of rent due to wage loss resulting from COVID – 19. This is not a ban on all evictions, only those related to rent payments owed to Landlords. 
    2. To utilize the protection of the moratorium, Tenants must:
    3. Demonstrate substantial loss of income, through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including county, state, and federal restrictions imposed to mitigate its spread; and
    4. Notify their Landlords on or before the day that rent is due that they are unable to pay rent due to substantial loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    5. Rent incurred during the declared emergency must be paid back within six months after the emergency is declared over. Late fees may not be charged or collected.
    6. The Multnomah County rule indicates that court hearing on eviction proceedings in Multnomah County will be suspended through April30, 2020.
    7. For cases that have already resulted in a judgment of eviction, the Multnomah County Sheriff will not enforce writs for nonpayment of rent cases.
  4. Other Counties and Municipalities
    1. Courthouses outside of Multnomah County have taken various approaches to the Governor and Judicial Department’s orders. Some will not accept any filings while others will accept filing but schedule first appearances at later dates than normal.  We have seen courthouses that continue to accept filings, scheduling first appearances between early-April and mid-May.  The exact first appearance date will depend on the county and the demand on the FED docket.

NOTE:  City of Portland will be publishing a similar and related emergency rule shortly.