(This Eviction Moratorium has since been updated last September 1, 2020. Read the Federal Update.)
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state governments throughout the country have enacted emergency measures imposing moratoria on evictions. The following is a summary of emergency orders and proclamations issued in Washington and Oregon affecting evictions and lease terminations.
As you can see, Oregon took a more restrictive and definitive approach related to a Landlord’s right to evict or to collect past due rent. Please note, that the City of Portland, in addition to state of Oregon laws, has passed their own ordinances related to evictions and rent collection.
Washington Eviction Moratorium
On April 16, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20.19.2 to expand and extend statewide prohibitions regarding residential and commercial tenancy lease enforcement and eviction. The statewide eviction moratorium ends October 15, 2020, and the following laws are in effect:
Prohibited: Dwelling Tenancy Eviction, Pre-Eviction Activity, Termination, Late Fees, or Imposition of Any Rent Where Occupancy Prevented by COVID-19
Procl. 20-19.2 expands the scope of the prior eviction moratorium to include "any dwelling or parcel of land occupied as a dwelling" (Dwelling) which, according to Inslee’s Press Release, is intended to include not only traditional residences but also transient housing in hotels and motels, "Airbnb" or similar vacation units, RVs, lots/parcels with separately owned motor homes, transitional housing, public lands, camping grounds and seasonal/college housing.
With respect to Dwellings, Procl. 20-19.2 prohibits:
Evictions, pre-eviction activity, eviction notices and terminations. Law enforcement is still prohibited from enforcing eviction writs. The new rule continues to exempt actions involving tenants who create a significant and immediate risk to the health or safety of others.
- No assessment of late fees after February 29, 2020.
- Rent Increases are prohibited on Residential Dwellings.
Charging any rent or other charges "for any period during which the resident's access to, or occupancy of, such dwelling was prevented as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak."
Post 2/29/2020 Rent on Dwelling Tenancies Is Unenforceable -- Unless Landlord Offers a "Reasonable" Repayment Plan that is refused or tenant fails to comply with an accepted plan.
Unpaid rents or other charges "where such non-payment was as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and occurred on or after February 29, 2020" will not be treated as enforceable debts or collectible obligations, whether by eviction, collection, billing, invoicing, setoff against security deposits or reporting to a credit bureau.
The only exception is where the landlord demonstrates with evidence to a court that a resident was offered and refused or failed to comply with a repayment plan that was "reasonable based on the individual financial, health and other circumstances of that resident." The effect of this restriction after the State of Emergency expires is unclear.
Oregon Eviction Moratorium
On March 16, 2020, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters issued an emergency declaration that effectively paused all eviction proceedings statewide.
When an eviction action is filed, the trial court automatically schedules a “first appearance” where the parties attempt to resolve their dispute. If the matter is not resolved, the court schedules a trial. The Chief Justice’s order postpones all first appearances and states that they will be rescheduled at a later time, effectively preventing any eviction actions from proceeding beyond the initial filing.
The order also postpones all trials (for cases where the first appearance has already occurred).
On March 22, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order that effectively suspends for 90 days all residential evictions based on nonpayment of rent statewide. The order prohibits law enforcement officers from serving notices, orders, or writs relating to the termination of a residential tenancy for nonpayment of rent. Because the sheriff’s office serves eviction summonses and writs of restitution, no residential eviction for nonpayment of rent can proceed during the moratorium.
HB 4213: Changes to Oregon Eviction Moratorium Effective June 26, 2020
The State of Oregon recently passed HB 4213 which added new restrictions limiting Landlords’ ability to enforce the right to rent payments, among other things. The statewide eviction moratorium ends on September 30, 2020 and the new laws below became effective June 26, 2020.
The law creates protections based upon three different time periods that are interrelated:
- April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 – The “Emergency Period”
- The “Emergency Period” refers to the time period where a tenant cannot be evicted, charged late fees, or be otherwise asked to leave their residence due to unpaid rent and balances due to COVID-19. During the Emergency Period, the landlord may give tenants written notice stating that Tenants continue to owe any outstanding rent. However, if a landlord elects to send such notice, it must include a statement that eviction for non-payment is not allowed before September 30, 2020.
- October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 – The “Grace Period”
- Tenants have until March 31, 2021 to pay landlord back their outstanding balance. During the Grace Period, rents, other charges, or fees that come due after the Emergency Period must be paid as usual or the landlord may terminate the tenancy under ORS 90.392, 90.394 or 90.630.
- The nonpayment balance that accrued during the Emergency Period is still due and must be paid, but the tenant is entitled to a 6 month grace period to repay the balance; they must specify a date for when they will pay back the balance; it must be by March 31, 2021.
- April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 – The “Regulated Year”
- April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 – The “Emergency Period”
Restriction During the Regulated Year:
- Deliver a termination notice for Nonpayment Balance (4/1/2020-9/30/2020 the Emergency Period debts)
- Initiate or continue an eviction based upon a notice of termination for nonpayment delivered after April 1, 2020
- Take any action that would interfere with a Tenant’s possession or use of the dwelling based on a Tenant’s nonpayment balance
- Assess a late fee or any other penalty on a Tenant’s nonpayment (4/1-9/30 debts)
- Report a Tenant’s nonpayment balance as delinquent to any consumer credit reporting agency
Application of Payments during Regulated Year
Landlords shall apply payments in the following order, to:
- Rent for the current rental period
- Utility or service charges
- Late rent payment charges; and lastly to
- Fees or charges owed by the Tenant under ORS 90.302 or other fees or charges related to damage claims or other claims against the Tenant
Notices Regarding Balances During the Emergency Period (4/1/2020-9/30/2020)
During the Emergency Period, Landlords may give Tenants written notice stating that Tenants continue to owe any outstanding rent. However, if a landlord elects to send such notice, it must include a statement that eviction for non-payment is not allowed before September 30, 2020.
About TMG Property Management Services NW
TMG Property Management Services NW is here to help you navigate through the changing tenancy laws and ordinances in Oregon and Washington. Rated as one of the top property management firms in the Portland Metro area by the Portland Business Journal, TMG leads the way in full-service property management across Oregon and Washington. TMG Property Management Services NW is a branch of the TMG Family of Companies and provides fully integrated property management, asset management, and leasing services to multifamily and single-family homes.
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