As the state’s eviction moratorium ends, landlords and tenants are flocking to now overrun lawyers to try and understand new regulations.
The moratorium, which barred landlords from evicting tenants due to failure to pay rent, ended on June 30, and there are currently no protections for those who cannot pay rent for July and afterwards. Lawmakers did create a grace period for rent repayment until February 28, 2022, but it will not include rent missed beyond June 30. The grace period also does not include anything about evictions.
However, there is support out there to help address any needs relating to this.
The Oregon State Bar partnered with legal aid providers to host a webinar to update landlords and tenants about rules and to try to answer questions. The webinar is available at osbar.org.
The agency also has a website about landlord-tenant law which includes up-to-date information about the current laws and has other links for legal help.
The city of Corvallis also has a webpage dedicated to renters and landlords impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the thought of sifting through that is daunting right now, do not fret; skip to the heading that best describes your housing situation.
There are several options for rental assistance, but starting with the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program is ideal.
OERAP assists eligible low-income households with rent and utilities that are past due using funds from the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Those eligible may request assistance dating back to March 13, 2020. For more information or to view their website go to https://www.oregonrentalassistance.org/.
Community Services Consortium also offers assistance to those who have fallen behind on rent or utilities, or continue to fall behind due to an emergency or loss of income. The fund for rental assistance for COVID-impacted households is suspended, but utility assistance is still available as well as their usual rental assistance programs. To get in contact call 541-704-7625 or reach out by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For help with the screening process there are CSC Agency Partners available in English and Spanish.
Casa Latinos Unidos provides pre-screening for CSC programs to Spanish-speaking community members, and also offers support for those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those excluded from the federal unemployment insurance program because of immigration status, the Oregon Worker Relief Fund provides temporary disaster relief. Those who qualify can reach a “navigator” to begin the process. To find one, click here for Spanish and here for English.
For needs regarding communicating about finances, the Community Alliance of Tenants has published reference material and templates.
The state legislature provided $150 million for this optional, one time program, to help landlords keep tenants in their home. Selected landlords will get 80% of rent they are owed by current qualified tenants from April 2020’s rent and on if they forgive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent.
The third round of the program is open, and now includes modifications to make the process easier. To watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to apply, click here.
On the webpage there is also information about notices, important forms, and how to fill out any of the above and apply for programs.
If you are a tenant or landlord and need information about things other than housing particularly but rather housing adjacent, this section is for you.
For assistance with utilities, reach out directly to providers as some are making exceptions. The city water service is also working with customers to create payment plans or keep accounts current, and the Utility Billing Department might also have options for those struggling to make water service payments.
Tenant/landlord relationships can be interesting to navigate, and clear communication is hugely important, so both Oregon Rental Housing Association and the MultiFamily NW are offering forms to address the eviction moratorium and spell out the law and what it means for both parties.
For help resolving a dispute, there is also a mediation service available called Neighbor 2 Neighbor that connects a neutral third-party to those with a dispute in order to resolve it.
Lastly, to keep up to date on laws about housing discrimination and COVID-19, click here.
By: Hannah Ramsey
Correction: We were incorrect in our details about what services are available through Community Services Consortium. The error has been fixed.