Rent Repayment Period Extended
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 repayment “grace period” for unpaid rent and other charges that accrued during the eviction moratorium has been extended until February 28, 2022. This gives tenants more time to repay their landlord any rent and charges they owe from April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (the “emergency period”). The extension was included in Oregon Senate Bill 282, which Governor Brown signed into effect on May 19, 2021.
However, all tenants must begin making their regular payments going forward on July 1, 2021, including rent, late charges, utility or service charges, and any other rental charges or fees. Tenants who fail to timely pay rent starting in July can be issued a 10-day rent nonpayment termination notice under the usual statutory nonpayment rules. (Note: Under SB 282, 72-hour rent nonpayment notices are now 10-day notices until March 1, 2022.)
SB 282 also extends other legal protections for tenants with nonpayment balances that accrued during the emergency period. Until March 1, 2022, landlords cannot evict or threaten to evict tenants based on their nonpayment balances, nor can they sue tenants in court for those amounts. Landlords are also prohibited from reporting any such nonpayment balances to credit reporting agencies. Finally, landlords may not screen tenant applicants based on evictions of ANY kind that arose on or after April 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2022, or screen based on an applicant’s unpaid rent that accrued during that same time period.
Based on the housing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, SB 282 also allows non-tenant guests to temporarily stay with tenants regardless of rental agreement restrictions to the contrary. Until March 1, 2022, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants or charging a fee for overnight guests. If the guests stay more than 15 days in any 12-month period, a landlord may require that guests satisfy the landlord’s usual screening criteria (but excluding credit and income), and sign a temporary occupancy agreement ending no earlier than February 28, 2022. The only limitation is that the number of occupants in a rental dwelling may not exceed two persons per bedroom (unless a local regulation or federal law sets a different occupancy limit).
SB 282 also imposes several other requirements, including language in rent statements that tenants cannot be evicted until after February 28, 2022 for nonpayment balances that accrued during the emergency period. New, mandated language must also be printed in nonpayment notices, eviction summonses, and eviction court complaints, so be certain that you are using updated eviction forms. Given these complexities, landlords should consult a knowledgeable attorney with any questions since missteps can be expensive (i.e., tenants can sue landlords for most violations and seek three months’ rent in damages, plus attorney fees).