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  • Monday, October 26, 2020 10:34 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)


    By: Sage Coleman, ORHA President
    10/19/20

    Fellow Oregon Landlord Members of the Oregon Rental Housing Association,

    This President’s Letter is a Call to Action. It is time that we rally together as a unified group and make our voices heard loud and strong to each and every Legislator in the State of Oregon.

    Based upon the outpouring of emails, phone calls and Facebook posts from our membership it has become apparent that there is being created within our membership a new class of disaster victim requiring relief.

    We hear you and our Executive Committee is working to create an ongoing plan to reach out to Oregon Lawmakers and insist that they change course to provide relief to Landlords in need as well as to level the landlord/tenant playing field.

    I encourage every person reading this to use the buddy system and make sure to inspire AT LEAST TWO other Landlords to engage in this process.

    We must be genuine, persistent and consistently clear in our messages to relay the unique personal facts of our experiences as rental housing providers to Oregonians in 2020. 

    Please take a few minutes to express specifically how events over the past year are causing you, your family and business harm. Use the links provided below and email your message to your Congressman, Senator, Speaker of the House Kotek, Kate Brown and our office. We will be compiling your messages to share with our Legislative Director and our Lobbyist that they may use them in their discussions with Legislators.

    Please use the following format as a guide:

    1. Name(s):
    2. Location:
    3. How many rental units:
    4. Short Personal Story: *Show these legislators that you are real working class Oregonians.
    5. How have Oregon Legislative Decisions negatively impacted you in 2020?: Be specific. Try to avoid abusive and inflammatory language towards tenants and the Oregon Governor’s office and Oregon Legislature. WE UNDERSTAND that some tenants are taking gross advantage of the circumstances made available to them by the Governor and the Oregon Legislature. However, the politics of the current landscape REQUIRE that we REFRAIN FROM DILUTING OUR MESSAGE OF REAL PAIN by bashing tenants or democrats. Stick to the facts of damage being caused to you and we will have their attention.

    Things to consider including in your letter:

    • How has the lack of rent impacted your financial situation?
    • Are you having to use savings to pay the mortgage, pay bills, buy food, utilities, etc.?
    • Have you tapped into your retirement savings to pay bills, mortgage, etc.?
    • Have you placed your mortgage in forbearance? If so, when is the forbearance due: at the end of the forbearance period or tacked onto the end of the mortgage? This is an added expense.
    • Are you facing foreclosure?
    • Are you only paying the interest on your mortgage?
    • Are you facing bankruptcy?
    • Was there scheduled maintenance that has been delayed due to the lack of rental income? If so, is this a habitability issue that has to be corrected?
    • Are you paying bills with a credit card, when in the past you paid with the rental income?
    • Were you or your next of kin going to move into your rental unit but were delayed by the Executive Orders and HB 4213?
    • Are you seeking mental health counseling due to the financial stress?
    • Have you lost so much income that you are going to food pantries or applying for SNAP benefits?


    On behalf of our General Board and Executive Committee I would like to thank you for being a part of this organization and for taking the time to read this letter. Last but not least we would like to share that, while it is true that emotional ranting will detract from making change with our messages, it is more important to send your message and make your voice heard. It is not our intent to censure you but to represent you well by tuning our voices so that we will be heard as one voice with the greatest impact. Say your piece. We need your participation. This will be an ongoing process requiring You to reach out to your Representatives and Senators through emailing, mailing, phone calling and traveling to Salem to give testimony in person when the time comes. Members of our Executive Committee will follow up this call to action with a personalized call to action each month. Change will not come quickly nor will it be easy.

    Take the first step. Do it now.

    Thank you for your participation with this critically important project and also for contributing what you can to the Oregon Rental Housing Key Political Action Committee (ORH KEY PAC): https://oregonrentalhousingpac.org/donate

    Together we can,
    Sage Coleman - President
    Oregon Rental Housing Association
    orhapres@gmail.com

    Find your representative using the maps below:

    Oregon Legislative District Map

    House District Map

    Oregon State Representatives

    Tina Kotek - Rep.TinaKotek@oregonlegislature.gov

    Julie Fahey- Rep.juliefahey@oregonlegislature.gov (District 1)

    Jack ZiKa- Rep.jackzika@oregonlegislature.gov (District 2)

    Jeff Merkley- merkley.senate.gov/contact

    Ron Wyden - wyden.senate.gov/contact

    Peter Defazio - defazio.house.gov/contact (District 4)

    Suzanne Bonamici - bonamici.house.gov/contact (District 1)

    Greg Walden - walden.house.gov/contact-greg (District 2)

    Earl Blumenauer - https://blumenauer.house.gov/ (District 1)

    Kurt Schrader - schrader.house.gov/contact (District 5)

  • Tuesday, October 06, 2020 1:39 PM | Anonymous

    Adapted From Article By: Emily Reina-Dozier, Oregon Law Center
    September 28, 2020

    The Governor has issued a new Executive Order, ensuring that Oregon renters are protected from eviction until December 31, 2020. This means that Landlords cannot evict tenants for nonpayment during this time; cannot use most kinds of no-cause notices until the end of the moratorium; cannot charge late fees or other charges based on nonpayment of rent between April 1 and December 31, 2020; cannot report nonpayment of rent or fees to credit agencies; and cannot give notices of termination without cause (unless the landlord has sold the property or intends to move into the property) or file for an eviction based on a termination without cause between April 1 and December 31.

    Tenants continue to have a grace period (until March 31, 2021) to pay back rent that came due between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020. The grace period does not apply to rent that came due between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Unless a new law is passed between now and the end of December, that rent will have to be paid all at once in January.

    This Executive Order applies everywhere in Oregon.

    Until December 31, 2020, no landlord in Oregon is allowed to do any of the following:

    • 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, or the landlord intends to move in to the rental or move a family member into the rental)
    • 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
    • Threaten to do any of these things

    Tenants do NOT need to file a declaration in order to qualify for this relief (the declaration is part of the CDC order, not Oregon law). Any rent that came due between April 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, must be paid by March 31, 2021. Starting on January 1, 2021, tenants need to pay their rent each month under the terms of the rental agreement. Tenants still have until the end of March, 2021, to pay back rent that built up between April and October.

    Remember, starting on January 1, 2021, 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, 2020. Starting on January 1, 2021, a landlord can evict for unpaid rent that came due between October 1 and December 31, 2020.

    Renters’ 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. Tenants can use the six-month grace period to pay back rent that came due from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, but cannot use the grace period for rent due from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 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 and collect that amount on or after April 1st, 2021. Tenants can notify their landlord that they plan to use the six-month grace period by text, email, letter, or verbally.

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

    • Is a landlord allowed to give a tenant a notice saying that the tenant owes rent?
      •  YES. A landlord is allowed to tell the tenant how much rent the tenant owes. But the landlord is not allowed to say that the landlord intends to evict for nonpayment of the rent that’s owed until after December 31, 2020.
    • Are a landlord and a tenant allowed to work out a payment plan to cover back rent?
      •  Yes. A landlord and a tenant can come to an agreed repayment plan, but a tenant is not required to enter into any kind of payment Plan. A tenant is only required to tell the landlord that they plan on paying back rent during the six-month grace period, and to pay back all of the rent that’s owed on or before March 31, 2021. Remember that rent that comes due from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 is not eligible for the grace period and must be paid in January.
    • Can a landlord evict a tenant for nonpayment after December 31, 2020?
    •  Yes, but only for rent that is due for October of 2020 or later. But a landlord cannot give a notice of termination or file for eviction based on rent that came due between April and September of 2020.
    • What if the first year of my tenancy was up during one of the eviction moratoriums? Is a landlord allowed to give a no-cause termination notice?
    • Yes. If the first year of your tenancy ends (or ended) between April 1 and December 31, a landlord is allowed to give a no- cause notice of termination by January 30, 2021. If you and everyone else in your household had already lived in your place for a year before April 1, 2020, then the landlord is not allowed to give a no-cause termination unless the landlord has sold the place to someone who plans to move in, the landlord lives on the same property in a duplex or ADU (or you live on the same property as the landlord in a duplex or ADU), or the landlord plans to demolish or remodel the property.
    • Can a landlord give me a notice of termination for cause, or file for eviction based on a notice for cause?
    •  Yes. The new law only covers evictions for nonpayment of rent or no cause terminations. A landlord is still allowed to give a tenant a notice based on a violation of the rental agreement.

    This information was last updated September 28, 2020 and is changing very quickly


  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:21 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By: Brian Cox, Attorney at Law
    Sept 30, 2020

    Watching and interpreting law changes ‘on-the-fly’ during the pandemic is very much like having someone ask you to take over the controls of an aircraft spiraling out of control and learn to fly –while also taking up juggling on a unicycle at the same time. The task is crazy, the information is sparse, the instructions are almost non-existent, and the sense of panic and chaos feel very real !!!!

    So how to deal with the confusion? Consider EO 20-56 as an ‘overlay’ on HB 4213.

    HB 4213 imposed a number of changes on landlords, including a moratorium on certain kinds of residential and commercial evictions and eviction notices through September 30th. What HB 4213 did NOT do is include language for extending that moratorium. On September 28th, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-56, which creates a new moratorium that prohibits certain residential evictions and eviction notices through December 31st. What EO 20-56 did NOT do is displace HB 4213 – instead, it acts as an ‘overlay’ to HB 4213.

    Here is what I think that means (this is NOT legal advice):

    1. No residential evictions, late fees or eviction notices for non-payment of rent, utility charges or ‘other service charges or fees’ through December 31st.

    2. No “No-Cause” termination notices, defined as notices pursuant to ORS 90.427(3)(b), (4)(b), or (c), (5)(a) or (b), or (8)(a)(B) or (b)(B), including 90-day landlord cause notices currently prohibited by HB 4213 through September 30th, 2020.

    3. Tenants continue to owe for unpaid rent, utility charges or other service charges or fees(excepting late fees and/or other penalties for non-payment).

    4. Extension of the ‘first year of occupancy’ through January 30th, 2021.

    5. Tenant payments continue to be applied under the modified application described in HB 4213 (current rent, then utility/service charges, then late rent charges incurred before HB 4213, then other fees or charges under ORS 90.302 or for tenant damage claims), and then to any non-payment balance accrued during the Emergency Period.

    6. Landlords can still give the HB 4213 notice to tenants about their unpaid rent, utilities and other service charges/fees on or after October 1st, advising tenants they can’t be evicted forthese unpaid amounts until after December 31st and that they have a grace period through March 31st, 2021 to repay those amounts, also alerting them to the penalty for not responding within 14 days. Presumably, more than one notice may be given (nothing says differently), so landlords may want to give a notice on or after October 1st, and another notice on or after January 1st, 2021.

    Notice what is NOT in EO 20-56 (and which is allowed beginning October 1st under HB 4213)?

    1. Any extension of the March 31, 2021 grace period.

    2. Any “grace period” to repay rent for October, November or December 2020.

    3. Any instruction (or limitation) on when to give one or more HB 4213 notice(s) to tenants (other than ‘after September 30th).

    4. Any requirement for tenants to provide proof of inability to pay rent.

    5. Any prohibition for giving 90-day notices where the landlord intends for the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family to occupy the dwelling unit as a primary residence and the landlord does not own a comparable unit in the same building that is available for occupancy at the same time that the tenant receives notice to terminate the tenancy. You can still give 90-day notices for owner-occupied buyers as well.

    6. Anything restriction on commercial notices or evictions (which are now allowed).

    Is all of this legal? Does the Governor have authority to do this? – We’ll see......

    How to avoid panic in this chaos? Breath deeply, read (and re-read) HB 4213 and EO 20-56 and all that wonderful ROA material provided to you, and seek competent help when needed.

  • Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:04 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By: Mark L. Busch, P.C. Attorney at Law
    Jun 27, 2020

    In its special session, the Oregon Legislature passed legislation extending the state’s eviction moratorium through September 30, 2020. House Bill 4213 prohibits residential and commercial evictions based on nonpayment of rent or other charges owed to the landlord, and further prohibits no-cause evictions against residential tenants. Late fees are also waived for both residential and commercial tenants throughout the emergency period (April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020).

    For residential tenancies, HB 4213 prohibits landlords from issuing ANY nonpayment notices for rent, utility charges, or other service charges or fees owed to the landlord, and prohibits issuing any no-cause eviction notices. Residential landlords are also prohibited from filing any nonpayment or no-cause eviction cases in court. Commercial landlords cannot issue nonpayment notices to their tenants or file nonpayment eviction cases in court. Landlords may still pursue for-cause evictions based on anything other than nonpayment. (Note: Landlords are also prohibited from reporting a tenant’s nonpayment balance as delinquent to any consumer credit reporting agency.)

    There is no requirement for tenants to provide any proof of their inability to pay during the emergency period. Rent and other charges owed to the landlord are automatically suspended if the tenant cannot or simply does not pay. However, both residential and commercial tenants are still ultimately responsible for rent and other charges that accrue during the emergency period (except late fees).

    HB 4213 establishes a 6-month grace period following the emergency period for tenants to pay their outstanding nonpayment balances to the landlord by March 31, 2021. Following the emergency period, landlords can issue a written notice to tenants informing them of the 6-month repayment period, the balance due, and requiring them to respond within 14 days with either payment or with notice that they intend to pay by the end of the 6-month grace period. Tenants who fail to respond at all can be penalized with damages payable to the landlord equal to 50% of one month’s rent following the grace period.

    Beginning October 1, 2020, tenants will be responsible for making their regular rent payments and other payments owed to the landlord under the rental agreement. Landlords can also begin issuing nonpayment notices after that date, but only for amounts that come due AFTER the emergency period ends. Landlords cannot issue nonpayment notices or evict tenants based on their nonpayment balance that accrued during the emergency period. If a tenant fails to pay the nonpayment balance by the end of the grace period, the landlord will need to file suit (small claims or otherwise) to recover that amount. Landlords who violate HB 4213 can be sued for injunctive relief, actual damages, three months’ rent, attorney fees, and court costs.

    The Landlord Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice for any specific issue that might arise, since every situation is different. Always consult a knowledgeable landlord attorney with your specific legal issues.

  • Monday, September 28, 2020 5:31 PM | Anonymous

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown ordered a new moratorium preventing evictions throughout the state until at least the end of 2020.

    The eviction moratorium ordered at the beginning of the pandemic was set to expire at the end of September.

    PAST COVERAGE: One month until the eviction moratorium ends, is Oregon prepared?

    Multnomah County announced last week that it would be extending the protections for renters through January 2021.

    On Monday, the governor said through a new executive order, residential evictions for non-payment and other no-cause evictions will be on hold until December 31, 2020.


  • Wednesday, September 16, 2020 3:29 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON -- FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Oregon to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires and straight-line winds beginning on Sept. 7, 2020 and continuing.

    The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures including congregate and non-congregate sheltering and direct federal assistance. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance through FEMA’s Public Assistance program, will be provided at 75% federal funding. This assistance is for Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill counties.

    Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

    Dolph A. Diemont has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response and recovery operations in the affected area. Designations may be made at a later date if warranted by the results of damage assessments.

    Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.


  • Sunday, September 06, 2020 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    CDC Issues Federal Eviction Moratorium

    By Mark L. Busch, Attorney at Law

    Website:  marklbusch.com

    This article is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice for any specific issue that might arise, since every situation is different. Always consult a knowledgeable landlord attorney with your specific legal issues.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a federal Order purporting to place a nationwide ban on nonpayment residential evictions until December 31, 2020.  The Order becomes effective on September 4, 2020 and essentially provides that residential evictions based on the nonpayment of rent or other charges owed to a landlord are suspended until the end of the year if the tenant provides the landlord with a sworn declaration.

    To qualify, the Order requires tenants to provide their landlord with a sworn declaration stating that the tenant:  (1) has used best efforts to obtain all available government housing assistance, (2) does not expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2020, or no more than $198,000 if filing taxes jointly, (3) is unable to pay full rent due to lost income, lost employment, or extraordinary medical expenses, (4) is using best efforts to make timely partial rent payments as circumstances permit, (5) if evicted is likely to become homeless or will need to move to “a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters,” (6) understands that rent, late fees and other lease charges must eventually be paid in full, and (7) understands that after December 31, 2020, the landlord may evict the tenant if past-due payments are not made in full.

    It is important to note that the Order does not override more stringent state laws.  In Oregon, for example, tenants who did not pay rent from April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 will have until March 31, 2021 to repay those amounts and cannot be evicted based on nonpayment of those amounts.  Oregon law also waives late fees during the same period, while under the federal Order landlords may charge late fees that become due in full along with rent on January 1, 2021.  (NOTE: Under both Oregon law and the federal Order, “for-cause” evictions based on conduct other than nonpayment are still allowed.)

    The Order (federalregister.gov/d/2020-19654) is based on a finding that the temporary halt of residential evictions is necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  However, the federal government’s authority is limited when it comes to restricting state eviction laws.  The federal order is likely subject to challenge on several constitutional grounds, and federal law cannot override state eviction law unless certain conditions are met (i.e., interstate commerce is affected, or discrimination laws apply).

    Enforcement of the Order is also likely to be questionable since it imposes criminal penalties on landlords for violations, which would have to be pursued separately from any eviction proceedings by the US Department of Justice.  The criminal penalties call for imprisonment of up to one year and fines of up to $500,000, but are based on somewhat obscure quarantine laws that appear to be patched together with other federal regulations that the CDC may or may not have the authority to apply to state eviction laws.  The bottom line is that the CDC has thrown out what is, at best, a shaky attempt to temporarily halt nonpayment evictions.  As usual, consult with an attorney before making a decision on whether to issue any nonpayment notices between October and the end of the year (October is when landlords can begin issuing nonpayment notices going forward under Oregon House Bill 4213).

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19


  • Thursday, July 02, 2020 6:06 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By: Cliff Conner, Southern Oregon ROA Mentor
    June 30, 2020


    The Governor signed HB 4213 and it is now law.

    Before I talk about HB 4213 and whether it is a good or bad bill, let me go back to June of 2017. HB 2004 died in the Oregon Senate. Why? The Oregon Senate had a different makeup than the Senate of today, including the House. HB 2004 died due to a massive response from the landlord community and the Senate did not have the votes to pass the bill. Peter Courtney, President of the Senate, would not bring a bill to the floor for a vote if he did not have the votes to pass it. There were at least two Democrats who would vote no on the bill. One of the Democrat senators lost in the next primary against another Democrat who moved into his district on the expressed purpose of his stance on HB 2004. The senator who lost in the primary is a landlord and they knew HB 2004 was a draconian bill. 

    Fast forward to the fall of 2018 after the election, both the Oregon senate and house had Democrat super majorities now. There were several Democrats that were running on the platform of a new rent control bill. The Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek, contacted our Legislative Director, Jim Straub, and asked if he would work with her on a preliminary draft bill of what was to become SB 608. Jim worked with her to try to mitigate the impact of the draft bill so as not to impact landlords which could have happened with the draft bill.

    I am not saying that SB 608 is a good bill. It is a bill that has had an impact on both landlords and tenants alike. Speaker Kotek stated to Jim Straub that there would not be any landlord/tenant bill in the short session of 2020. She stated that she wanted to see how SB 608 would work and would come back to a landlord/tenant bill in 2021.

    It is important to note that when there is a super majority by one party in the senate, the house and the governor’s seat, it is very difficult to overcome when negotiating on a landlord/ tenant bill. Also important to note, one of the main issues that is near and dear to the Speaker of the House is housing.

    It is now 2020 the short session ended with a walkout by the Republicans. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Governor issued her first of many executive orders (EO) dealing with the pandemic which was EO 20-03.

    Shawn Miller, ORHA’s lobbyist, had heard several weeks before the first special session that there was a landlord/tenant bill that would affect landlords. There were other groups and lobbyist who tried to intervene and modify the bill to no avail. Jim was asked to talk to the Speaker personally, which he did, and a good conversation transpired. Jim asked for a copy of the Legislative Committee (LC) draft bill and the Speaker agreed to give him a copy that was being worked on. At that point in time, the LC draft bill was crafted and there was no way to kill the bill, so Jim negotiated the best possible position for landlords.

    There are three ways to deal with a bill, pass a bill, kill it, or compromise. The way to compromise on a bill is through amendments to the bill. HB 4213 had 14 amendments in three days. Considering there was no way to kill it, a lot of compromising took place.

    The tenant groups and tenants at large were pushing for a rent freeze and rent forgiveness. These two issues did not make it into the bill, but they will come up again next session (2021) and hopefully we will be able keep these two issues at bay as it would violate contract law.

    Leading up to the first special session the governor had indicated that she was going to extend EO 20-13, the eviction moratorium, in one way or another and maybe add more restrictive language to it to the detriment of landlords. She indicated to Senator Ginny Burdock that if a bill was passed in the special session with some protection to tenants, she would not extend EO 20-13. Senator Burdock stated this in a hearing on HB 4213.

    On 06/30/2020 Governor Kate Brown signed EO 20-30, which extends EO 20-03’s emergency order and the COVID -19 state of emergency. True to her word she rescinded EO 20-13, the eviction moratorium, in EO 20-30.

    As to House Bill 4213, ORHA was able to work five important pieces into the bill.

    1. There is an end date to the emergency period, 09/30/2020, and a process going forward on the nonpayment balance during the emergency period, ending on 03/30/2021. At the end of the emergency period the full force of ORS chapter 90 is back, except for the grace period.
    2. The no cause termination in the first year of tenancy is extended to 30 days past the end of the emergency period. This is for those tenancies which the first year expired during the emergency period 04/01/2020 to 09/30/2020.
    3. There is a grace period for paying back the nonpayment balance. There is a penalty of 50% of one month’s rent if tenant does not respond to a request for repayment of the nonpayment balance.
    4. The statute of limitations on terminations where a landlord could not terminate a rental agreement during the emergency period and the upcoming grace period has a toll on the statute of limitations.
      • “Toll” means that the running of the clock for the one year of the statute of limitations is stayed during that time period. The end date is 03/31/2021.
    5. 90.427 (5) (b) was excluded from the moratorium. This is where a landlord sells a rental unit and the buyer moves in. This provision was stated during the hearings and on the floor for the vote that was carried by Rep Fehay.

    Is this a bad bill or a good bill? That will be in the eye of the beholder. To some landlords who have not collected rent during this period and extending out to 09/30/2020 it is a bad bill.

    To some tenants that think there is no rent forgiveness or prohibition on rent increases in the bill, it is a bad bill. To some landlords and tenants who recognize that there is now a process for the collection and payment of the nonpayment balance, it is a fair to good bill. There is always going to be something in the bill that anyone can point to and say it is bad or good. I say it is a compromise. The reason I say that is in order to kill a bill, you need the votes and or political capital to do so. The landlords do not have the votes but we, (ORHA) have some political capitol with the Speaker of the house and we have established mutual trust at this point.

    There is a time and place to march to the Capitol with pitchforks and torches but this is not the time to do so. If this bill did not pass, landlords would be at the mercy of the Governor and her EO’s that could be extended to who knows when. I think it is better to have a law on the books with an end date and a process to work through.


  • Tuesday, June 30, 2020 2:24 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By Brian Cox, Attorney at Law
    June 29th, 2020

    On April 1st, the Governor issued Executive Order 20-13, enacting a moratorium on all “no-cause” and “landlord-cause” evictions and evictions for non-payment of rent. Executive Order 20-13 is set to expire at the end of June. On Friday, June 26th, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 4213, which extends the eviction moratorium on both residential and commercial evictions through September 30th, 2020. In addition, HB 4213:

    • Creates a six-month repayment grace period after the moratorium ends for tenants to repay their back rent accrued during the moratorium. During the repayment period, tenants may not be evicted for failure to repay their back rent, but they must keep paying their ongoing monthly rent during the grace period or face eviction.
    • Allows the landlord to provide notice about the six-month grace period and the balance owed, notifying tenants that an eviction may not be filed before 9/30/2020, and requiring tenants to notify the landlord within 14 days that they intend to utilize the grace period to delay repayment of back rent. If a tenant fails to give the proper notice, the landlord is entitled to recover damages equal to 50% of one month’s rent after the grace period. Landlords may also offer voluntary alternate repayment plans.
    • Allows no-cause evictions when a property is sold to a buyer who intends to occupy the property as their primary residence.
    • Accommodates landlords who were unable to utilize their ability to no-cause evict someone at the end of the first year of occupancy per ORS 90.427 because that point- in-time occurred during the moratorium. Landlords now have a 30-day period after the moratorium ends to utilize this provision.
    • Prohibits negative credit reporting for non-payment of rent during the moratorium and prohibits assessing late fees or other penalties for nonpayment during the moratorium period.
    • Allows landlords to accept partial rent payments without waiving certain landlord rights.
    • If a landlord violates HB 4213, a tenant may seek injunctive relief to prevent an eviction and also recover up to three months’ rent plus any actual damages.
  • Monday, June 29, 2020 12:41 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By Tia Politi, ORHA Secretary
    6/30/2020

    Addressing tenant violations of the rental agreement is challenging anytime, but for rental owners facing issues with their tenants right now, it’s especially frustrating. The Governor’s moratorium combined with the Oregon courts closures that relegate eviction actions to the lowest tier of concerns, is becoming ruinous for some.

    Worried that your tenants will bail owing thousands of dollars? I believe it will happen, but I also think it’s less likely to happen if you take a thoughtful, considered approach. While your property rights have been suspended for a time, there are still tools at your disposal: compassion, education, negotiation, social service referrals, non-compliance notices, and the police. Also, in extreme cases, the courts are still expediting urgent matters.

    This crisis and the calls I’m getting on the Helpline are highlighting rental owners’ collective weaknesses in the areas of relationship-building, negotiation, conflict resolution and tenant non-compliance. It’s also spotlighting poor business practices for some who were having problems with their renters prior to the crisis, but didn’t take action, or who are lazy screeners and really didn’t bother to check out their residents.

    Relationship building
    We build relationships with our customers by providing great service, listening, responding in a timely fashion, addressing issues that concern them, appreciating their business, thanking them for their efforts - you know, the way you build a good relationship with anyone in business. Of course, genuine concern is hard to fake, so if you have looked down your nose at your renters and haven’t invested time building relationships with them it’s going to be a hard sell now. No one is receptive to information from someone who they don’t think cares about them, even superficially, so if you don’t want your renters to bail, better be sure to let them know that you care not only for yourself, but for them and their situation.

    Expressing compassion for the times we’re in, using kindness and persuasion, and offering resources are the best tools we have right now (or most any time). Regardless of the situation, speak respectfully, let them speak, hear them out fully, ask questions to clarify their issues, let them know that you understand the stress of the times, you want them to be stable in their housing, now and in the future, you’re willing to work with them, then offer resources where they might get some help. I really think this is almost always the way to go, but now more than ever.

    The art of negotiation
    Negotiation skills are critical to overall success in managing property. The most successful managers always keep their cool, treat people with dignity and respect, clearly communicate what they can and cannot do (and why), and work to resolve issues in a way that helps everyone save face and get at least some of what they want or need. Force someone to agree to your terms, demean them and their opinions, treat them like dirt and they will get their revenge. Rental owners who don’t have good people skills end up paying in many ways: intentional property destruction, online defamation, toxic stress. Does that mean caving in to unreasonable demands or not enforcing your agreement? No, and while it’s important to give people space to feel heard, and seek to provide what support we can, people need to solve their own problems. Beware of getting too emotionally invested in your tenant’s problems or too involved in achieving solutions. Offer help and referrals, but don’t be the total solution or give more than you should.

    Also, don’t deny that you have self-interest in whatever the issue is. We all have self-interest and acknowledging that lets the other person know that you’re not pretending that it’s all about them and what they want, thereby making you seem disingenuous.

    Right now, for landlords who are trying to sell property, renovate, demolish or move in an immediate family member, let the tenant know that it’s coming. They may find it more convenient to move in the summer or fall rather than the dead of winter and take the initiative to find another place. For property managers, see if it’s possible to find them another unit that meets their needs.

    Cash for keys is also a viable option. Nothing prohibits negotiating a mutual termination agreement. You can try to incentive a move out by agreeing to refund the deposit in full, forgive any back-owed rent or some other concession to sweeten the deal. If you do make such an agreement, put it in writing and don’t hand over any money until they are handing you the keys on their way out of the unit.

    Conflict resolution
    You’ll never talk someone else out of their position or get them to see yours if they view you as the enemy. I’m not telling you to be fake, flattering or obsequious, just approachable, warm and caring. You may not understand where someone is coming from, but taking the time to just listen can give a lot of people what they want. Don’t we all want to be heard by someone?

    In my career as a property manager, I was told by many residents that I was the best manager they had ever had. I attribute that to my willingness to listen, treat everyone with dignity and respect, help them to the best of my ability but also help them understand my limitations (boss, company policy, finances, laws, owners). My job often involved telling people no, but I always explained why. As a kid I bet you didn’t like being told no without an explanation. Well, grown adults don’t like it either. Often when you explain why you are not unwilling but unable to give them what they want, it can help them see that you’re not the enemy and start a dialogue which is the basis for truly functional communication.

    As social animals, people arrange themselves in classes and hierarchies, at least in their own minds. For rental owners, we can be perceived as The Man – and in some ways we are The Man. We have the right to lay down rules for how other people get to live, kick them out if they don’t follow our rules or pay their rent. For that reason, and others, residents may not be able to hear the message that you’re actually trying to work with them, see them as a valued customer and are trying to help them be stable in their housing. They may believe that you see them only as a source of money. It’s your job to treat your customers in such a way that they feel valued in the relationship and feel that you care about them as people. That builds social capital that engenders trust, helps you resolve conflicts more easily, and makes it more likely they will see you as an ally not an opponent, and less likely they will feel okay bailing out.

    Focus on the problem, not the person
    If you’re dealing with non-payment of rent, share rent assistance information, indicate your willingness to give them time to catch up. If they’re on a rent strike, remind them it likely won’t be granted, so don’t spend the money. It will need to be paid back eventually. Educate them on the risks to their credit and rental history, and explain your own financial situation. Many people don’t understand all that rental owners are responsible for and the costs they incur for maintenance. I find it helpful to disclose the costs of certain improvements when I do them so they have some idea what I’m putting into the property each year.

    I’m hearing from rental owners whose tenants are likely damaging the home, but are denying entry “due to COVID-19” but have multiple people coming and going, or inviting unauthorized people to live there, making their denial more than a little disingenuous. Then there are residents who are high risk, fragile, and super-scared of getting sick, who are exhibiting reactions to COVID-19 that you may think are over the top. Providing assurance that you care for their well-being and asking them under what conditions they would consider allowing entry, then following those instructions to the letter, can get them to let you in if they’re truly frightened.

    Whatever the reason for denial of entry, if it’s unreasonable the law says that’s a lease violation and a landlord can serve a notice of termination with cause for that, but what about now? I can’t say how a judge would see this, but would they think denial of entry during the pandemic is unreasonable? Maybe, maybe not, and remember, you’re not getting to court very fast.

    In the end, regardless of how nice you are, it isn’t going to help you address anything if the tenant refuses to respond or communicate in any way. All you can do is hunker down, keep documenting what is going on, serve notice if you need to and file in court if you must.

    There is no problem so big that you getting angry or judgmental won’t make it worse
    Do I get angry? For sure. Am I judgmental about the choices some people make? You bet. Will it help me to express that? No way. No matter what happens, keep your cool. Focus on the problem, not the person and you’ll find ways to express your concerns without the not-so-subtle put downs. For example:

    • “It must be hard to keep up with the house and yard with a job and four kids, but I’m concerned about damage to the property. Is there anything I can do to help you get back on track?”
    • “I’m hearing that you have someone else living with you. Not sure if that’s true, but we can discuss options for getting them on the lease or adding them as a temporary occupant. What’s the situation?”
    • “I’m hearing from the neighbors that there has been occasional fighting that is disturbing to them. Being in this crisis is impacting everyone and I’m concerned for you. I hope you understand that I have to keep the peace and I will have to serve you a notice if it doesn’t stop, but I want to make sure you know that if you don’t feel safe, there are ways I can help and places to get help.”
    • “You have a lot of personal property in the unit and I’m concerned for the home, but also your safety. Can we collaborate on a plan to help you get things under control?”
    • “You haven’t been paying your rent during this time. I want you to be stable in your housing, and I’m concerned that you might get so far behind that you’ll never catch up. I don’t want this to impact your life in the future, so just know that I’m willing to take payments when this is all over.”

    Certainly, being calm and courteous doesn’t solve every issue. We’ve all had experiences with people who for whatever reason were impossible to work with or satisfy. Some people have degrees of mental illness, PTSD, or borderline personalities that can be barriers to communication, collaboration and resolution. They can be manipulative or swing from one extreme emotion or action to another. Then there’s the everyday criminal types, who just don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves.

    If you hit the wall where communication breaks down and find it best to walk away you can say something like, “I’m feeling uncomfortable so I’m going to leave/hang up now. Let me know if you decide you want to talk again.” There’s no blame in that message, only that you’re feeling uncomfortable but you’re open to more conversation, and the decision is theirs.

    Trauma-informed care – dealing with PTSD
    In these turbulent times, each of us is experiencing the current crises in different ways. I pride myself on being a rock, an island as Simon and Garfunkel so poetically described it, but I’ve been anxious lately. Due to childhood scarcity, I’m a stock-piler of necessities pretty much all the time, but I started feeling anxious about products I had plenty of (toilet paper, paper towels, rice, beans). It was weird and not extreme, but I noticed it, and it put me on edge and made me want to double down on buying more and more, ugh.

    For someone experiencing a current scarcity, with a history of scarcity and lacking a decent support system of friends and family, I can only imagine how much more extreme the anxiety would be. Now imagine feeling that someone is threatening your shelter. Regardless of how irresponsible the choices may have been that led them to this moment, it’s still a really bad place to be. Everyone understands wanting to point out to someone the error of their ways. Don’t succumb to that temptation, it won’t help.

    Think about what’s going through their mind. Where will they go? What will they do? Will they be homeless? How will they ever get into another place? Even if you’re approach is just right and you’re talking about a risk to someone’s housing, you may get an extreme reaction. Some people may become dangerous and violent. Others might get suicidal. Be sure you have a route of exit if things get really ugly.

    Persistent stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), changes the physical structure of the brain. It shrinks the areas of the brain that help us regulate rational thoughts and actions, and over-activates the primal brain, the part that helps us survive through the fight, flight or freeze response to danger.

    When dealing with people who have PTSD, their brain highlights perceived threats (you possibly being one of them), and impairs their ability to see things rationally or find solutions to problems. This isn’t to say their condition excuses bad behavior, but it does explain why you may have trouble collaborating on solutions, and why you will be much more likely to have success using a calm and gentle approach. It may also help you avoid taking any outbursts personally.

    • Watch your body language and tone of voice. Keep your body open and relaxed, smile when appropriate, palms up, use a calm, soothing tone, but don’t be saccharine. Experts say that 7% of communication is verbal, the other 93% is tone of voice and body language. If the topic turns personal and aggressive, don’t respond in kind. “I can see you have strong feelings about that, and I want to understand how we can collaborate on a solution.”
    • Be empathetic and nonjudgmental. “That’s a tough spot to be in. What are you going to do? Can I offer a suggestion?” “Wow, that sounds pretty extreme, how are you coping with that?” Your responses should state your limitations while offering ideas. “Well, unfortunately, I can’t waive your rent because I have bills to pay too, but I can reduce your rent for a time or work with you to catch up. Have you heard about the state’s rent assistance fund?”
    • Focus on feelings. “I think we’re all feeling extra stressed right now. I think if we work on a plan, it may help us both cope with this situation.”
    • Ask for permission. “Would you be open to learning about some resources that could help right now?” It shows respect to ask if you can share resources, not just assume that they need what you have to offer or that your ideas are superior to theirs. If they say no, just move on. “Ok, no problem, just know there are resources available.”
    • Set limits. “I wish I could afford to waive your rent. You may not know my situation...”
    • Pick your battles. “My biggest concern right now is that we take care of X. I’m fine waiting to address Y and Z until later.” What is the most urgent matter right now? Focus just on that and ignore other little things that are driving you up the wall for now.
    • Allow silence for reflection. Don’t feel the need to fill every break in the conversation, and don’t repeat yourself.
    • Allow time for decisions. “How about we explore the possibilities we have discussed today and talk again in a few days?”
    • Use the technique of mirroring. Mirroring is a proven way to help build rapport with someone else by adopting similar patterns of speech and body language. You may be very different from your renters. If you’re a formal person speaking to another who is more relaxed, adopting a more relaxed attitude and posture can help you connect. Mirroring another person’s speech patterns can also help people feel that you’re not talking down to them or adopting a superior attitude, which is a proven rapport-killer.
    • Reframe what you hear them say. Reframing statements followed by solutions is a good way to help someone feel heard, be sure that you have received their message accurately and let them know you may have ideas to help. For example, “I hear you saying you have some money, but you’re concerned you may need that money to live and don’t feel you can pay anything at this time. Is that right? Can I share some resources with you that might help us both?”

    Sometimes conversations become circular or turn into what I call scattershot, jumping from topic to topic without any resolution for any of them. This pattern is pretty common with people who suffer from PTSD. If you are discussing a specific issue and the other party redirects the conversation to another issue, stop. Tell them that is an important thing to discuss. Write it down and let them know you can discuss that after you finish addressing the topic at hand. This may happen several times and takes patience to continue to write things down while trying to keep them on track, but it can work.

    Social services
    We don’t all get to have perfect renters who cope well, have an emergency fund, and the ability to handle problems that come their way. Residents with memory issues or disabilities, may need coaching and social service support. Think of ways that you can get them connected to support services or ways to bring them into compliance in a collaborative way that acknowledges the problem while also protecting their dignity.

    With a cooperative tenant and good social service supports, you may be able to develop a plan of action to help a struggling renter achieve compliance and stay housed. Sometimes it will take the extreme action of serving a notice of termination with cause before they awaken to the realities of their situation and agree to accept help, but it’s worth a try and if it does end badly, at least you’ll know that you did what you could.

    The 2-1-1 information service can be a great source of information on social service supports statewide. If your tenant is older or disabled and struggling, try contacting Senior & Disabled Services. If your tenant is having a mental health crisis, call Cahoots or White Bird. If there’s domestic violence, they can contact Womenspace or the Department of Human Resources. Whatever the problem, we are blessed to live in a caring community that funds a myriad of programs providing services to vulnerable people.

    Take it to court
    Aside from non-payment of rent, dealing with lease violations is causing the most consternation for landlords right now. If you are in a situation that has just broken down, remember you can still serve notices for tenant violations and file the action in court. You won’t see the inside of a courtroom for a while, but at least you’ll be in line when the logjam breaks. Also, some renters may cure the notice or move out if they can’t or don’t want to cure and want to avoid an eviction on their record. Or it can open the door to a negotiated move out. After a while, your wagging finger means nothing and decisive action can compel a response.

    If you have tenants in a lease, remember that a three strikes termination is not prohibited. You can move along the path of providing the required written warning notices for violations and even serve a 90-day notice of non-renewal once they hit the three strikes mark. Be sure you have good documentation of each violation, can prove that you sent the required notices with the required language within 30 days of discovering each violation and that your notice of termination is perfect in every way.

    For month-to-month tenants warning notices won’t serve to terminate tenancy, so at some point you may need to serve a notice of termination with cause. If they don’t cure or move out, you can file in court, just remember if you accept rent beyond the date of termination you will create waiver and your notice will be void.

    If you have a severe situation, such as outrageous conduct (drugs, violence, substantial damage), you may be able to expedite your case once it is filed. It requires appearing in court at what is called an exparte hearing, and pleading for the judge to allow the case to be pushed through more quickly, or you or affected renters might consider trying to get an order of protection. This has worked for a couple of recent Helpline callers who were being threatened or stalked by their tenants, and for a tenant who was abusing and harassing others at a multi-family complex. This is the fastest way to get a dangerous person out of the unit, and it doesn’t cost anything.

    The takeaway

    Build good relationships with your renters so you have social capital in bad times.

    Treat people with dignity and compassion regardless of circumstance.

    Offer resources to your renters when they need help, but don’t try to solve their problems for them.

    Control your negative emotions.

    Enforce your agreement when you must.

    Managing housing for other humans is a job like no other, providing frustration aplenty, but in these uncertain times when rental owners are clearly shouldering a disproportionate burden, I’m heartened to hear most renters are paying their rent, taking care of the property and being good neighbors.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

    About the Author: Tia Politi is a licensed property manager, rental owner, and president of the Rental Owners Association of Lane County. She serves as the secretary for the Oregon Rental Housing Association (ORHA) and ORHA Education, Inc., heads up the ORHA Forms Committee, serves as a volunteer instructor for St. Vincent de Paul’s Second Chance Renter’s Rehab Program, and teaches classes in rental management throughout the state, including a class teaching high school seniors the basics of renting a home. Tia owns and operates Rental Housing Support Services, LLC, providing consultation, landlord-tenant training, mediation, notice prep and service, eviction support, and telephone helpline services.

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