Oregon Senate Bill 278 & CDC Moratorium Extension Through July 31, 2021
On June 24, 2021, Senate Bill 278 (SB 278) was signed into law and effective immediately. SB 278 provides additional protections to Tenants providing documentation to their Landlord that they have applied for rental assistance.
I. Notice Required with 10-day Termination for Nonpayment and Summons and Complaint
You must deliver a notice with any termination for nonpayment of any charges and any summons for an eviction based on nonpayment given to the Tenant. It must be exactly in the form below. The italicized language below will be added to nonpayment termination notices in the Multifamily NW Forms Collection.
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, dial 211 or go to www.211info.org. To find free legal assistance for low-income Oregonians, go to www.oregonlawhelp.org.
II. Effect of Delivery of Documentation
If a Tenant provides the Landlord with documentation that the Tenant has applied for rental assistance, a Landlord may not deliver a termination notice for nonpayment or initiate or continue an action for possession based on the termination notice for nonpayment for 60 days.
Documentation includes electronic mail, a screenshot or other written electronic documentation from a rental assistance provider verifying the submission of an application for rental assistance.
The courts will dismiss an eviction case for nonpayment if:
- The Landlord did not attach the required notice;
- The Tenant’s nonpayment was substantially caused by the Landlord’s failure to reasonably participate with a rental assistance program (this does not require that you apply for the Landlord Compensation fund);
- The Landlord receives rental assistance covering the rent owed in the termination notice;
- The Tenant provided the documentation before the case was filed. However, if the Tenant provides the documentation at any time after the Landlord filed the case and at or before the first appearance, the court will postpone the first appearance for at least 60 days.
III. Reissuing a Termination for Nonpayment if Balance is Not Paid
If 60 days have passed since the Tenant provided the documentation, a Landlord may issue a new termination notice. If the matter was already filed with the court and the case was postponed for 60-days, the court must promptly set the matter for trial at the reset first appearance.
If a Landlord violates SB 278, a Tenant may obtain injunctive relief to recover possession or address any other violation. The Landlord’s failure to comply may also be used as a defense in an FED. Finally, if an FED is dismissed based on SB 278, a Tenant is not entitled to a prevailing party fee, costs or attorney fees if the Landlord delivered all notices as required, did not know or have reasonable cause to know that the Tenant had provided documentation when the FED was filed and the Landlord promptly dismissed the FED when they became aware that the Tenant provided the documentation.
V. New Source of Landlord Compensation
If a Tenant’s application is denied or the 60-day period described above expires without payment, Landlords may apply to an agent of the Oregon Housing and Community Services for nonpayment that accrued during the delay. This source of rental assistance is different that Landlord Compensation Fund (LCF) created by HB 4401.
VI. Increased LCF Funding
The LCF will now reimburse applicants for 100% of any unpaid rent awarded. This will apply retroactively to Landlords who have already been approved in the first two rounds without requiring any additional request. It will also apply to any Landlords who timely submit applications for Round 3 of the LCF program that are approved.
Landlords should pay special attention to the required changes in forms and practices. If you are not already utilizing a forms bank that is updated regularly, like the Multifamily NW Forms Collection, you should consider doing so. Training opportunities will be scheduled in July. Check multifamilynw.org/events for latest dates.
VIII. CDC Moratorium Extension – July 31, 2021
On June 24, 2021, the Federal Government, through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has extended the temporary ban on Landlords taking action against residential Tenants for nonpayment of any charges through July 31, 2021. As a federal requirement, this applies in all states, subject to state law restrictions. The CDC Order keeps the modifications added during the March 28, 2021 extension in place. The CDC notes that this 30-day extension is “intended to be the final iteration.”
As a reminder, the CDC Moratorium prohibits Landlords from evicting any “covered persons” for nonpayment during the covered period (September 4, 2020 through July 31, 2021). A “covered person” is a residential Tenant who provides their Landlord with a declaration containing several statements.
For more details about the CDC moratorium and the required contents of the Tenant declaration please see previous articles
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.