New COVID-19 Evictions Moratorium – Effective July 1, 2020…
During the pandemic, tenants can defer paying their rent between April 1-September 30, 2020. Landlords cannot evict tenants for nonpayment during this time. Tenants will have a six-month grace period (until March 31, 2021) to pay back the deferred rent. Landlords cannot charge late fees or other charges based on nonpayment of rent between April 1-September 30, 2020. Landlords also cannot give notices of termination without cause or file for an eviction based on a termination without cause between April 1 and September 30.
This new law applies everywhere in Oregon.
What the law says:
The Legislature passed HB 4213 on June 26, 2020. Under the new law, no landlord in Oregon is allowed to do any of the following things until October 1, 2020:
- Give a termination notice for nonpayment of rent, fees, utilities, or other charges
- Charge a late fee or penalty for nonpayment
- Give a termination notice without cause (unless the landlord has sold the rental to someone who plans to move in)
- Start an eviction case based on nonpayment
- Start an eviction case based on a termination without cause
- File for noncompliance with a stipulated agreement in eviction court if the eviction was based on nonpayment or a termination without cause
- Report a tenant to a credit agency for nonpayment of rent or a late fee
Any rent that came due between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, must be paid by March 31, 2021. Starting on October 1, tenants need to pay their rent each month under the terms of the rental agreement. But tenants have six months to pay back rent that built up before October. Starting in October and after, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent under the terms of the rental agreement but cannot evict a tenant for not paying any rent that was deferred between April 1 and September 30. A landlord will have to wait until April 1, 2021 to evict a tenant for not paying rent that came due during the eviction moratorium.
If a landlord violates any part of the new law, a tenant can get a court order to force the landlord to allow the tenant to move back into their home. And a tenant can also sue the landlord for three months’ rent.
Tenants’ Obligations under the New Law
Under the new law, a landlord can give the tenant a notice saying how much rent the tenant owes and will have to pay back by March 31, 2021.
Starting October 1, 2020 a landlord can also give a notice to the tenant requiring that the tenant tell the landlord within 14 days if the tenant plans to use the six-month grace period to pay back any rent owing.
- It is extremely important that tenants respond to this notice.
- If a tenant does not tell the landlord that they plan to use the six-month grace period to pay back the deferred rent, the landlord can charge the tenant half a month’s rent as a penalty.
Tenants can notify their landlord that they plan to use the six-month grace period by text, email, letter, or verbally. But tenants should be sure to keep a record of all of their communications with their landlords about their rent repayments. A sample letter to use to tell your landlord that you plan to use the six-month grace period to pay back rent is available here (page 3).
(Source: Courtesy of our friends at Legal Aid)
A link to the source of this article at Legal Aid can be found here.
The HB 4213 materials are available in Spanish here.