Renters: Brown Strengthens COVID-19 Protections, Includes Commercial Tenants

With the closure of many businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both business owners and employees have found themselves without a source of income, causing them to be unable to pay rent.   

Yesterday, Gov. Brown issued for the first time, an order protecting commercial tenants – and she also strengthened protections for residential tenants.  

The new order: Executive Order 20-13 orders a three-month moratorium on the termination of rental agreements, both residential and non-residential, as a result of the tenant being unable to fully pay rent. Tenants must provide proof of their inability to fully pay rent, and must at least make partial payments if they are able.  

Compared to the old order: This is an strengthens Executive Order 20-11, which simply disallowed law enforcement from enforcing the evictions. The new executive order adds language which prohibits the evictions in the first place. This is an important distinction, as EO 20-11 may have led to a period of mass evictions which would be enforced after the moratorium.  

Though improved, the current language doesn’t prevent landlords from waiting until the moratorium ends and filing the evictions afterwards.  

“During this unprecedented public health crisis, too many Oregonians have found themselves with no way to pay the monthly rent for their homes and businesses,” said Brown. “These are difficult times. This order will help Oregon small businesses stay in their locations without the threat of eviction.”  

By Thomas Nguyen