OR Lawmakers Give Businesses More Time for Missed Rent

The Oregon Senate approved a bill that would give business owners until September to repay rent they may have missed last year due to the pandemic. 

The bill, approved 25-4, would give owners who missed payments from April to September of 2020 until Sept. 30, 2021 to pay owed rent. Although the bill does have bipartisan support in both chambers, for it to go into effect, Gov. Kate Brown needs to sign it.  

Though the moratorium on commercial evictions expired in September, the legislation gave business owners until March to repay accumulated owed rent. Rent is now coming due, and business owners are asking for more time. 

If signed by Brown, House Bill 2966A would be retroactive to March 31. Evictions processed before the bill goes into effect but have not been concluded will either be stayed until October 1 or dismissed. 

This will not help businesses still struggling during the pandemic who missed rent payments since the expiration of the moratorium on commercial evictions in September. 

Those who support the bill say that extending the repayment period will allow more time for lawmakers to get rental assistance to landlords whose commercial tenants have struggled to keep up with rent, possibly avoiding a commercial eviction landslide.  

In January, lawmakers allocated $100 million for a commercial business relief program. The state agency in charge of administering the fund, Business Oregon, has approved almost $59 million during the first two rounds to assist with the missed rent of 2,881 businesses statewide . The remaining funds will be used to provide grants to small businesses for operational expenses and rent.  

By: Hannah Ramsey