Eviction Moratorium Extended Again
By Mark L. Busch, Attorney at Law
Citing the continuing pandemic, the need for stable housing, wildfires, and the housing shortage, Governor Brown extended Oregon’s eviction moratorium on September 28, 2020. The Governor issued Executive Order 20-56, which extends the moratorium on no-cause and nonpayment evictions for residential tenancies through December 31, 2020. In most aspects, the extension mirrors the existing restrictions on residential landlords already found in Oregon House Bill 4213.
Executive Order 20-56 continues to prohibit residential landlords from issuing ANY nonpayment notices for rent, utility charges, or other service charges or fees owed to the landlord, and prohibits most no-cause eviction notices. Rent payments are deferred through December 31st, not waived, although late fees and any other penalties for nonpayment are waived. Nonpayment eviction cases and most no-cause cases cannot be filed or pursued in court. Landlords cannot take any action based on nonpayment that would interfere with a tenant’s right to possession, nor report a tenant’s nonpayment balance to credit agencies.
The Order does allow for limited, 90-day no-cause eviction notices in some circumstances when a family member will be moved into the rental unit, and when a landlord has accepted an offer to purchase a rental unit when the buyer in good faith intends to occupy it as a primary residence. The Order also extends the “first year of occupancy” through January 30, 2021, such that some tenants whose first year of occupancy ended between April 1 and December 31, 2020 could still be issued a no-cause eviction notice in January. And landlords may still pursue for-cause evictions right now based on tenant conduct other than nonpayment (i.e., disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of the premises, unauthorized occupants, destruction of the rental property, etc.).
Under the Order, tenants do not have to provide any proof of their inability to pay. Rent and other charges are automatically deferred through December 31st if the tenant cannot or simply does not pay. While landlords may continue to issue rent statements, they must include language notifying tenants that eviction for nonpayment is not allowed before December 31, 2020. Finally – and unlike HB 4213 – tenants do not have a “grace period” to repay rent for October, November and December 2020. All rent for those months will become due on January 1, 2021 (unless something changes).
Notably, the Order does not apply to commercial tenancies. As such – and again, unless something changes – commercial landlords are now free under HB 4213 to pursue nonpayment evictions for amounts that become due in October and going forward. NOTE: Commercial tenants still have until March 31, 2021 to pay deferred amounts that accrued from April 1 through September 30, 2020.