The Multifamily NW team is ready, willing and eager to serve you...remotely! Paper forms are being shipped out weekly on Thursdays and virtual opportunities are happening regularly. Also, RentalFormsCenter.com and TenantTech.com are open 24/7 for immediate access to the Multifamily NW Forms Collection. Visit the MFNW COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest news and updates.

COVID-19 Update 4/2/2020

 

On April 1, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order (EO) 20-13. The Order places a 90-day moratorium on terminating residential and commercial tenancies for nonpayment of rent. It also prohibits initiating or taking any action on any existing cases for possession based upon nonpayment of rent during the 90-day period. The new EO also imposes a criminal penalty for landlords that violate the order. The rules can be summarized as follows:

Residential Tenancies

  • Landlords shall not terminate any tenant's rental agreement for nonpayment of rent; take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating evictions including but not limited to filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfere in any way with such tenant's right to possession of the tenant's dwelling unit.
  • "Nonpayment" means any nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, or any termination without cause.
  • Late fees may not be charged during the moratorium.
  • Tenant's obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees, except for late fees, is not affected by the moratorium.
  • The Executive Order does not apply to termination for causes other than nonpayment

Non-Residential Tenancies.

  • Landlords shall not terminate any tenant's rental agreement for nonpayment of rent; take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating evictions including but not limited to filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfere in any way with such tenant's right to possession of the leased premises.
  • "Nonpayment" means any nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee.
  • The moratorium only applies to non-residential tenants if tenant provides the landlord, within 30 calendar days of unpaid rent being due, with documentation or other evidence that nonpayment is caused by, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Acceptable documentation or other evidence includes, without limitation, proof of loss of income due to any governmental restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Late fees may not be charged during the moratorium.
  • Tenant's obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees, except for late fees, is not affected by the moratorium.
  • The Executive Order does not apply to termination for causes other than nonpayment.

Generally, for both residential and non-residential tenants

  • Any residential or non-residential tenant who is or will be unable to pay the full rent when due under a rental agreement or lease, shall notify the landlord as soon as reasonably possible; and shall make partial rent payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.
  • Any person found to be in violation of this Executive Order is subject to the penalties described in ORS 401.990, which makes violations a Class C misdemeanor.

EO 20-13 generally encompasses all other moratoria affecting Oregon residential housing and is the most tenant protective measure enacted. Consequently, the rules are now the same in all jurisdictions because the EO 20-13 is the most restrictive measure. During the Oregon moratorium under EO 20-13, behavioral violations are the only violations of the Oregon Landlord and Tenant Act or lease that a landlord may enforce. It is noteworthy that violating EO 20-13, for instance by issuing a 72-hour termination notice for nonpayment of rent, may subject the landlord to criminal liability.

EO 20-13’s 90-day moratorium is less than the 120-day moratorium in the federal CARES ACT. Landlords that receive certain federal funds are subject to a longer moratorium. 

EO 20-13 is in effect for 90 days. It states that tenants still owe all rent due, and requires tenants to “make partial rent payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.” However, the EO is silent as to how long tenants should have to pay back rent after the moratorium ends. Tenants in Portland, Beaverton, and Multnomah County would still be entitled to six months following the end of the emergency to pay back rent. 

Recent City of Portland Action

On April 1, 2020 the four members of Portland City Council signed a letter to state and federal officials calling for all rent and mortgage payments to be forgiven - for renters and businesses adversely effected by COVID-19. Multifamily NW Executive Director Deborah Imse was quoted responding in an OPB.org article Portland Leaders Call for Rent and Mortgage Waivers, "If you can't make payroll, then you can’t have folks on site to handle disputes...you have some pretty serious consequences at time when we need to keep people housed." Deborah also stated that while she had multiple conversations with the city about relief measures, this had not been one of them. She said she worried that properties would deteriorate under these measures if landlords cannot afford to keep buildings staffed.

Multifamily NW quickly responded sending a detailed letter to Gov. Brown on the dire reprecussions of enacting a policy of mandated rent waivers. The letter was also sent to the Oregon Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C.,Portland's Chief of Police, Oregon Business Industries, Utility Companies, First Responders, Realtors, Multifamily NW membership and various news outlets.

If you have any questions about these latest developments, please contact your landlord/tenant law attorney.

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.