ORHA News

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  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 11:47 AM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    November 1, 2022

    It’s done! The 2022-2023 Forms Manual is finally here and ready for purchase. I encourage members and nonmembers alike to purchase our latest book. It’s chock full of information and contains our new forms and updates to many other forms. As an eviction specialist and landlord helpline representative for five of our county chapters, I can tell you that when a landlord loses in eviction court it is most often because of a mistake in their notice – wrong form, miscalculation of time, imperfect service and inadequate descriptions – all of these things can and do derail an otherwise legitimate termination of tenancy.

    Managing rental property is a business like any other business and it takes keeping abreast of what we can do and how we can do it. In addition to providing many new forms and revisions to others, our Technology Chair, Cloud Miller, has grouped our forms according to category and renumbered them with the help of our programmers and Sunriver Computer Services. This invaluable guide will help you deal with tenancy issues the right way (and by the way, it’s a tax-deductible business expense).

    As we go to press with our November edition, many of our legislative races are too close to call. Here’s hoping that whatever the outcome, we regain balance in the State of Oregon. Thank you to all who contributed so generously to the ORH Key PAC. We were able to distribute more than $34,000 to candidates who support property owner rights.

    Be sure to participate in the ORHA Survey Committee’s latest survey! We’re excited to be able to track changes over time with the data we are collecting.

    Remember, November and January board meetings are virtual now, look for more information about our November Board and Committee Meetings in Office Manager Ben Seamans office report. We hope to see you there!

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 11:41 AM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    November 1, 2022

    Hello all, our next set of meetings will be held virtually on Friday November 18, 2022, and Saturday November 19, 2022 – An email will be sent to all delegates by the end of day on Monday November 14, 2022 with the meeting link and further details. For those eligible delegates not currently attending our board meetings, I highly suggest that you start because we do often provide valuable information and insight. For those interested, there are several volunteer opportunities – Please contact Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for more information.  

    During our September board meeting, we received a majority vote to implement an assigned ORHA email address to each local association. This will be a project that we will begin to roll out towards the end of this year, and it will allow for local associations to submit their monthly membership reports digitally online, as well as being able to teach classes virtually using Microsoft Teams. When the time comes, each member with access to the assigned email address will need to sign the ORHA Microsoft Email User Policy mentioned later in this article. More information and training will be provided as it becomes available.

    With our new professional emails in place, ORHA has drafted a Microsoft Email User Policy that was presented during the July meeting in Silverton. This policy will be executed by all ORHA email users and will help ORHA maintain quality of control, emphasizing an importance on cyber security, and association cyber safety – email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com to receive a copy of this user policy. Moving forward, please be sure to email by position (i.e. President, Vice President or Secretary) or topic (i.e. Forms, Technology, or Social Media) – not by person.

    Please be vigilant of email scams and always double check that the email address ends in @OregonRentalHousing.com. Remember, email display names can be masked and it’s extremely important that you click on the name to verify the email address is legitimate. No ORHA members will ever request money or wire transfers via email, we’ll never offer any kind of legal advice, and our email addresses will always end with our website, @OregonRentalHousing.com. Please be vigilant in verifying the source before opening attachments.
    All invoices are to be submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com, they are then taken out of email for an approval process that’s tracked with the Executive Committee and more secure from Email Scams. Please do not email invoices directly to Bookkeeper or Treasurer; for cyber-security reasons, neither officials will approve or pay an invoice outside of the official approval process (starting with submitting the initial invoice to office).

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month **

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 11:26 AM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    November 1, 2022

    As a rental owner, most of the properties hubby and I purchased were vacant or were our primary residence before being turned into rentals. We did have instances however, when we purchased a property with a renter in place. For most private investors this will happen at some point, and certainly for property managers it happens all the time. Either way it can be a challenge. Most residents handle the transition to a new owner or manager well, others not so much. Most sellers have good renters, professional documentation, and a habitable unit, others not so much.

    Transition 101
    Just like other areas of life, courtesy and kindness go a long way to drawing people to your way of thinking. Transitions can be particularly difficult for some people and a pleasant, calm, helpful demeanor is always a good idea. I have occasionally had renters who struggled with the transition at first, but then settled down, so don’t assume that the first reaction you get will be how things go forever.

    One lady I encountered burst into tears when I showed up with transition paperwork. She thought she was being evicted and as she sobbed her heart out, it was all I could do to get her to hear me and let her know that wasn’t the case. Another tenant refused to accept the transition, refused to send us rent, and was evicted for non-payment despite my many attempts to get him to understand that we were his new managers.

    You can’t make the need for change go away, but in most cases your attitude will influence the response from your new renters, so be mindful of that and your chances of a successful transition will increase exponentially.

    I start by writing a nice letter introducing myself and letting the renters know the effective date of the change, where they should pay rent in the future, and how to make maintenance requests. For month-to-month tenancies (or tenancies with only a verbal rental agreement), I also include a new rental agreement and addenda for them to initial, sign and return.

    If the rental unit was built prior to 1978, it’s especially important that you provide the EPA booklet, “Protect Your Family from Lead in your Home.” If the renters won’t sign the Lead Based Paint Disclosure form, at least you provided the required information. I would also recommend emailing the link, so you have proof. The EPA takes this issue seriously and you could incur substantial fines for failing to provide the booklet.

    I add a paragraph that says something like, “Enclosed you will find a new rental agreement and assorted rental forms. Please contact me to let me know if you have any questions or would like to meet; otherwise, I would appreciate it if you would have all adult household members initial, sign and date the forms where indicated, and return them to me within 30 days.”

    I also say some other nice things like, “As a valued customer your satisfaction is important to me. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve your experience in your home, or if you have any questions or concerns about this change.” Yes, you may open yourself up to an avalanche of requests, but in my experience most reasonable folks don’t push it and you can always deny the unreasonable requests.

    Curing Waiver & Changing Terms
    I also want to address any issues of waiver that the prior owner may have created so in a month-to-month situation I include the following statement in the letter, “Please be advised that this letter shall also serve as your notice of change in terms. All the conditions, rules and regulations contained therein will take effect 33 days from the date of this letter regardless of whether or not you sign and return the documents.” (Review ORS 90.262 regarding the implementation of rule changes by housing providers.)

    This can be an effective way to reset a late fee type or amount, change your smoking policy, parking restrictions, or even require renter’s insurance (But, remember that if you are including this particular change you must include a statement as to when it is not legal to require:  if the renters’ combined household income divided by household size is at or below 50% of the median for the county of residence, or  if the dwelling unit of the tenant has been subsidized with public funds including federal or state tax credits, federal block grants authorized in the HOME Investment Partnerships Act under Title II of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, as amended, or the Community Development Block Grant program authorized in the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, project-based federal rent subsidy payments under 42 U.S.C. 1437f and tax-exempt bonds. Visit https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html#2020_query to determine the median income of your county.).

    There are many things you can’t change without the renter’s agreement. Those would be the due date for rent or maybe even a longer grace period if the prior owner had one. You also cannot implement any other “substantial modification” of the rules without the renter’s written consent. That might include things like assessing a utility fee or any other new requirement that requires the tenant to pay for something that they didn’t previously have to pay for like garbage service or take over a task like yard care that was previously included in the rental agreement.

    In my experience, 95% of renters want to be cooperative and will go ahead and sign your forms, but if they don’t at least you’ve got some parameters for the tenancy established.

    If I’m taking over a fixed-term lease, there’s nothing I can change until it expires, unless they are willing to sign a new agreement, but I still want to cure any waiver of the existing terms the prior landlord may have created, so I add a statement like, “This letter shall serve as your notice that all the terms and conditions of your current lease agreement are in full force and effect, regardless of whether or not your prior landlord enforced those rules.” I have been pleasantly surprised on many occasions though, when tenants in a lease will agree to sign new forms, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Certain types of waivers may not be cure-able such as a pet by waiver or even a tenant by waiver, so you are advised to proceed with caution and not just assume that you can do or change whatever you want. (Read ORS 90.412 for the legal rendition of waiver and seek legal advice if you have any questions.)

    Property Condition
    If the former owner or manager failed to document the condition on move in, security deposit reconciliation becomes more problematic. I need to document the current condition so there’s some sort of baseline, so I include an invite to call me to set something up. If I don’t hear back in a week, I send a notice for a time during normal business hours that works for me. If they’re willing to meet in person, it can also be a good time to get forms signed and questions answered.

    When you do your initial inspection after taking over, even if you may be looking for lease violations as well as needed repairs, call it a maintenance inspection. Make sure they know you will need access to all closets, rooms, garage and even storage sheds. (If they deny access to any part of the home or grounds, remember that unreasonable denial of entry is a violation under ORS 90.322.)

    I start by asking them how things are with the property and run through a rough list of habitability items:  Do your doors and windows open, close and lock properly? Does your heating/cooling system work properly? Hot water? How about the electrical system, any issues with lights, plugs or switches? Any leaks, drips, or plumbing issues you are aware of? Do your appliances work properly? Have you tested your smoke & CO alarms recently?

    That usually puts people more at ease because the focus is on the unit and makes the walk-through less awkward for both. As you’re inspecting, document any lease violations you may see but hold off on addressing them at that moment. Long ago, I was doing a walk through with a prospective client and it was clear the tenant was smoking cigarettes in the unit and had an unauthorized cat. The owner confronted the tenant, the conversation got quite tense, and things could have really escalated. Just document what you see and let your legal notice do the talking for you.

    Illegal Provisions
    Illegal provisions in a rental agreement are another potential hassle that you may inherit from the previous owner/manager. Remember that a tenant cannot waive their rights under landlord-tenant law (even with their agreement), so if you have inherited a defective agreement, just don’t attempt to enforce those provisions. ORS 90.245 (2): “A provision prohibited by subsection (1) of this section included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord deliberately uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by the landlord to be prohibited and attempts to enforce such provisions, the tenant may recover in addition to the actual damages of the tenant an amount up to three months’ periodic rent.”

    Some illegal provisions that have crossed my desk include usurious late fees; premature grace periods, such as three days instead of the minimum four; allowance for entry without 24 hours’ notice; and unreasonable restrictions such as, no overnight guests or no sleepovers for children. The renter has the right to use the home and property for any reasonable, legal uses and you may not unreasonably restrict their rights to do so.

    Habitability
    Habitability issues can rear their ugly head, so be careful regarding the condition of a property you purchase or take over for management. If there are substantial problems, I would decline to purchase or manage until or unless the tenants were removed so that I don’t inherit a legal claim for damages from the renter. Should you choose to take on that risk, deal promptly with all needed repairs, but especially habitability-related repairs such as lack of smoke or CO alarms, heat or hot water, doors and windows that don’t lock, rot or pest issues, safety and security, waterproofing & weatherproofing, electrical, plumbing and waste systems. Check out ORS 90.320 for a complete rendition of your obligations to provide habitable housing.

    Discrimination & Retaliation
    Encountering a challenging transition with a contentious renter makes most landlords want to just terminate tenancy, but that has been rendered significantly more challenging since the passage of Senate Bill 608. Proceed carefully. Remember that even a termination without cause in the first year of occupancy has the legal defenses of discrimination or retaliation.

    Discrimination means treating people who belong to a protected class differently than those who don’t in the buying selling or leasing of real estate and is outlined in federal law through the Fair Housing Act and in state law under ORS 90.390. Protected classes are:  Federal – race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability; State – marital status, source of income, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Other localities in Oregon may have additional protected classes. Eugene, for example, adds protections based on – age, ethnicity, type of occupation and domestic partnership.

    Retaliation is defined in landlord-tenant law (ORS 90.385) as increasing rent, decreasing services, serving a notice of termination, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession after the tenant has:

    • Complained to or expressed to the landlord in writing the intent to complain to a governmental agency charged with oversight for: building, health, or safety codes; mail delivery laws and regulations; or discrimination in rental housing.
    • Or, the tenant has: made a complaint to the landlord that is related to the tenancy; formed or joined a tenants' union; testified against the landlord in any judicial, administrative or legislative proceeding; successfully defended an FED (eviction) action brought by the landlord when the notice served by the landlord was defective or imperfect, or the timing of the notice was miscalculated; or indicative of their intent to assert or invoke the protection of any right secured to tenants under any federal, state or local law.

    Exceptions to the use of the retaliation defense by a tenant include: 


    • Complaints by the tenant were unreasonable in their timing or manner
    • The violation of housing codes was caused by the tenant
    • The tenant has defaulted on rent (unless they deposit full rent into court)
    • Compliance with building codes requires the tenant to vacate

    So, maintain professional decorum with even the most cantankerous renter and terminate tenancy for cause if they violate the rental agreement. Some residents struggle with developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorder, mental illness, PTSD, health issues or family dysfunction. We don’t all get the perfect renters who communicate well, obey every rule, are fully functional, and have healthy conflict resolution skills. It’s up to you to deescalate or walk away. Deal with lease violations by serving notice, not by issuing threats or ultimatums, and if you can’t do that hire someone who can.

    Tenancy Termination
    Sometimes you not only have to handle the transition, but termination of tenancy as well. That comes with its own set of challenges as to the reason and proper service of notice, but also due to the renter’s reaction. Unless I was able to re-home a renter or they were ready to move out anyway, I never got a joyful reaction. Think about how much of a disruption it would be for you to move out of your home. Things may get hostile, or at the least the renter will be understandably upset. Be as compassionate and helpful as you can be and be prepared for some amount of anger or upset.

    Keep in mind too, that about half the time the renter may experience some delay and not be able to vacate on the termination date. Yes, you can proceed to evict, but that takes time too. I always factor extra time into my plans, and depending on the situation, am okay with extending the move out date within reason if they will put their notice in writing to me and pay rent for the extra time. Don’t accept payment of rent on an extension without notice from the tenant or you will create waiver on your notice in accordance with ORS 90.414.

    The Takeaway
    Take care with how you handle a transition with renters. Successful management is based on building relationships, and you set the tone at the first contact. Be kind but firm and you’re likely to have fewer hurdles to overcome as they get accustomed to a new way of doing things. Be prepared for some amount of obfuscation, anger or upset and always keep your cool – remember, it’s about the situation, not you personally.

    Address issues of paperwork right away and cure any waiver the former manager may have created. Get in and document the condition of the unit as soon as possible and take care of any habitability issues right away. If you’re purchasing or taking over management of an occupied rental property, you may want to require the seller to correct any deficiencies in the paperwork, terminate tenancies of questionably habitable units, or remove a problem resident ahead of you assuming legal liability.

    Buyers desperate for a deal and property managers hungry for clients sometimes don’t think these things through. They disregard performing their due diligence, resulting in unanticipated liabilities, legal bills, and intense stress. Sometimes a bargain is a bargain for a reason and is no bargain at all.

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

  • Sunday, October 09, 2022 1:01 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi
    October 01, 2022

    We had a busy and productive meeting in Bend last month. McMenamin’s provided great food and a lovely meeting space. Friday’s Leadership Dinner was well-attended, and the group heard updates from our committee chairs. Technology Chair Cloud Miller prepared a spectacular Teams Video taking us through the history of the ORHA Forms Store that was almost lost forever and shared his vision for the future. Next up, forms packages that will prefill all selected forms with the tenants’ information, so you don’t have to fill out each form individually!

    Education Chair Violet Wilson updated the group, taking us through the new classes in development and the progress the committee has made over the past year in supporting our smaller chapters through mentoring classes. The chapters who have benefitted from her support had rave reviews on all she has done to improve their offerings to their members as well as their bottom lines.  

    Survey Chair Alex Wilkins presented his committee’s work on the next survey coming out this month. Be sure to send it out to your members and encourage them to participate. This new survey will be similar to the first so we can compare the data over time. Can’t wait to see it!

    As chair of the Forms Committee, I reported that we were very close to putting the 2022-2023 Forms Manual to bed. Since then, it has been completed and sent to the printer. We hope by the time this newsletter comes out that the books will be ready to go. The Forms Committee’s next project is a new Law Book. We expect that will be published in late 2023 or early 2024 depending on the outcome of the next legislative session. We are planning to include other sections of law, including the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure; ORS Chapter 18 – Judgments; ORS Chapter 40 – Rules of Evidence; ORS Chapter 46 – Small Claims; ORS Chapter 96 – Fence Line Law; and a new Glossary of Legal Terms. The committee is also in the process of taking suggestions for the next Forms Manual. Please email us with any suggestions for updates to existing forms or new forms you would like to see:  ORHAFormsCommittee@oregonrentalhousing.com.

    At our Saturday board meeting, Bookkeeper Lori Black updated us on her progress cleaning up the books. In the past, some income and expenses were incorrectly categorized, and she and the Finance Committee have been hard at work with some forensic accounting. It looks better every time! At the office, Ben Seamans has helped by creating approval processes to input bills and invoices and route them to the appropriate board members for approval prior to payments being issued. With our new finance procedures in place, we are setting ourselves up for long-term fiscal stability and that feels good.

    Our November and January meetings will be held online through Microsoft Teams. Look for invites to committee meetings and the board meeting next month – hope to see you all there!

    Since being elected president, it’s been a series of dramatic changes to every aspect of what we do, but I’m very encouraged by the progress we’ve made in providing a stable foundation for the future of ORHA. Thank you for all your support!

    “When we least expect it, life sets up a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” – Paulo Coelho

  • Sunday, October 09, 2022 12:56 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    October 01, 2022

    Hello all, thank you to everyone who was able to attend our September meetings in Bend! On Friday we had a series of productive committee meetings, and we had our annual Leadership Dinner featuring some phenomenal committee reports! Saturday’s board meeting ran smoothly – A special shoutout to Cloud Miller (ORHA Technology Committee Chair) for the detailed presentation, giving the history of ORHA’s online form store. For those eligible delegates not currently attending our board meetings, I highly suggest that you start because we do often provide valuable information and insight. For those interested, there are several volunteer opportunities – Please contact Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for more information.  

    During our September board meeting, we received a majority vote to implement an assigned ORHA email address to each local association. This will be a project that we will begin to roll out towards the end of this year, and it will allow for local associations to submit their monthly membership reports digitally online, as well as being able to teach classes virtually using Microsoft Teams. When the time comes, each member with access to the assigned email address will need to sign the ORHA Microsoft Email User Policy mentioned later in this article. More information and training will be provided as it becomes available.

    Our next set of meetings will be held virtually on Friday November 18, 2022, and Saturday November 19, 2022 – An email will be sent in November with the meeting link and further details.

    With our new professional emails in place, ORHA has drafted a Microsoft Email User Policy that was presented during the July meeting in Silverton. This policy will be executed by all ORHA email users and will help ORHA maintain quality of control, emphasizing an importance on cyber security, and association cyber safety – email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com to receive a copy of this user policy. Moving forward, please be sure to email by position (i.e. President, Vice President or Secretary) or topic (i.e. Forms, Technology, or Social Media) – not by person.

    Please be vigilant of email scams and always double check that the email address ends in @OregonRentalHousing.com. Remember, email display names can be masked and it’s extremely important that you click on the name to verify the email address is legitimate. No ORHA members will ever request money or wire transfers via email, we’ll never offer any kind of legal advice, and our email addresses will always end with our website, @OregonRentalHousing.com. Please be vigilant in verifying the source before opening attachments.
    All invoices are to be submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com, they are then taken out of email for an approval process that’s tracked with the Executive Committee and more secure from Email Scams. Please do not email invoices directly to Bookkeeper or Treasurer; for cyber-security reasons, neither officials will approve or pay an invoice outside of the official approval process (starting with submitting the initial invoice to office).

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month **

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723


  • Sunday, October 09, 2022 12:45 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: ORHA Legislative Committee
    October 01, 2022

    With one-party control and supermajorities in the legislature, it’s natural that policy is driven down a one-way progressive street with no stop lights to slow it down.  Negotiation and moderation begin to fade and party politics shift so far in one direction that the electorate clamors for the pendulum to come back.

    The 2022 election could be the year that the pendulum swings back to the middle— a corrective course of those unhappy with the direction Oregon is heading.  Homelessness, Crime and Public Safety are top of mind for voters this Fall and will decide the fate of those running for office. 

    Oregon’s political climate should yield a more balanced legislature this November with the expectation that both the Oregon House and Senate could fall below the Democrat 3/5ths supermajorities of 18 and 36 in both chambers.  The Senate has the clearer path to reduce the democrat majority from 18D-11R-1I to a 15-15 split or even a 16-14 Republican majority (including the conservative Independent) if they win every targeted race.  The House Republicans are expected to narrow the gap from 38D-22R to 35D-25R or even closer if they win a few more targeted races.

    The Governor’s race is an historic three person—all women race with former Speaker of the House Tina Kotek (D-Portland), former House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) and former Ways and Means Co-Chair Betsy Johnson who was a life-long Democrat in office but is now running as a non-affiliated candidate. 

    With the Governor’s race now firmly a two-way contest between Republican Christine Drazan (R-Canby) and Democrat Tina Kotek (D-Portland), the stakes could not be higher.  Last week, three polls were released illustrating the following:

    Nelson Research
    (R) Drazan 33.4% (+1.9)
    (D) Kotek 31.5%
    (I) Johnson 19.2%

    Clout Research
    (R) Drazan 39% (+4)
    (D) Kotek 35%
    (I) Johnson 16%

    DHM Research
    (R) Drazan 35% (+2)
    (D) Kotek 33%
    (I) Johnson 21%

    Please CONTRIBUTE to the ORHA Key-PAC

    This election could be historical with your help!

    It’s time we transition into a post pandemic world where balance is restored.

    This November election is critical.  Either we elect a Governor and legislators who will help us manage our properties or we may face future set-backs with further eviction moratoriums, rent control and/or the loss of no-cause evictions.  

    This is a special “balance” appeal for our PAC so we can defend ourselves or face the consequences.  So it’s time once again to please contribute to the Oregon Rental Housing KEY-PAC.

    Your contribution of $1,000, $500, $250 or $100 will go a long way this election cycle to help stop these attacks!  A lot is at stake next legislative session.

    ORHA’s legislative successes are built upon getting the right legislators elected!  Regardless of a candidate’s political affiliation, ORHA KEY-PAC helps elect candidates who will help protect your ability to own, operate and manage rental property.

    So please, support the ORHA KEY-PAC and support legislators who will understand and protect our industry.

    https://oregonrentalhousingpac.org/

  • Sunday, October 09, 2022 12:29 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    October 2022

    The end is here! October 1, 2022, marks the return to normal for landlords and tenants alike regarding nonpayment of rent and other eligible charges. It also marks the end of the Safe Harbor Period tenants have enjoyed if they provided written proof of application for rent assistance to their landlord on or after July 1, 2021, and before July 1, 2022.

    On October 1, 2022, landlords whose tenant applications have not been funded by September 30, 2022, can apply to the Landlord Guarantee Program to be reimbursed in full for their tenants’ Safe Harbor Periodhttps://www.oregonlgp.org/. Landlords may only apply for reimbursement from the date the renter provided written proof of their application for rent assistance from a qualifying agency. The state plunked $10 million into that fund; hopefully, it will be enough.

    Some may have been confused or misled regarding the types of applications that qualify. Those include any emergency rent assistance programs that are publicly funded will trigger the protections, whether funded by state, local, federal, or other funds. This means OERAP (Oregon Emergency Rent Assistance Program), a program run through a local Community Action Program, a local Community-Based Organization, a local foundation, etc. Some tenants have been providing ineligible types of assistance applications – emergency loan requests, Go Fund Me, etc. These types of applications do not qualify, and you will not be able to seek reimbursement from the program.

    What types of money owing qualify for reimbursement? Eligible non-payment charges include rent, late charges, utility or service charges, or any other fee as described in the rental agreement or allowed by ORS 90.140, 90.302, 90.315, 90.392, 90.394, 90.560 to 90.584 or 90.630, but do not include payments for damage to the premises.

    ORS 90.140 Types of payments landlord may accept or require: 

    • Applicant screening charges, pursuant to ORS 90.295;
    • Deposits to secure the execution of a rental agreement, pursuant to ORS 90.297;
    • Security deposits, pursuant to ORS 90.300;
    • Fees, pursuant to ORS 90.302; (NSF fees, alarm tampering fees, noncompliance fees, lease-break fees)
    • Rent, as defined in ORS 90.100;
    • Prepaid rent, as defined in ORS 90.100;
    • Utility or service charges, pursuant to ORS 90.315 (4), 90.568 or 90.572; and
    • Late charges or fees, pursuant to ORS 90.260
    ORS 90.560-90.584
    • Manufactured housing park or RV park charges including charges for rent, utilities, services, garbage, cable/satellite/internet, late fees, public service charges
    ORS 90.630
    • For cause termination for lawful charges assessed in manufactured housing park or RV park

    On October 1, 2022, we also return to the timelier nonpayment notices provided to tenants switching from 10-day notices to 72-hour notices and from 13-day notices to 144-hour notices; however, some attorneys recommend serving a Notice of Termination with Cause if the tenant has accrued substantial past-due charges over the last two-and-a-half years. Seek legal counsel for advice related to your specific situation. Also, beginning October 1, 2022, landlords are not required to include any special notices along with any notice to pay or vacate.

    If your tenant accrued debt prior to the initiation of the Safe Harbor Period, that won’t be covered debt so you may want to see what you can obtain from the program and serve notice for any moneys owing outside of that period, or you can serve notice for the entire debt and evict for nonpayment if you don’t want to bother (but who wouldn’t want to bother about getting paid?!!).

    Application of Tenant Payments
    Many landlords have been trying to work with their renters, by having them agree to a payment plan, but may be causing themselves more problems by applying payments improperly. Remember, beginning March 1, 2022, landlords had to begin applying payments in the usual way.

    ORS 90.220 (9)(a) Notwithstanding a provision in a rental agreement regarding the order of application of tenant payments, a landlord shall apply tenant payments in the following order:

    (A) Outstanding rent from prior rental periods;

    (B) Rent for the current rental period; 
    (C) Utility or service charges;

    (D) Late rent payment charges; and
    (E) Fees or charges owed by the tenant under ORS 90.302 or other fees, or charges related to damage claims or other claims against the tenant.

    Past Tenants – Statute of Limitations
    And another reminder…you may recall that for residents whose tenancies terminated during the Protected Period (April 1, 2020 – February 28, 2022), the statute of limitations was tolled. That means you have through February 28, 2023, to initiate legal action to recover any nonpayment balance. It might not hurt to make one last effort to get them to sign a Promissory Note – ORHA form #50, and agree to reasonable payment arrangements, but you can also sue in Small Claims Court, or hire a collection agency to pursue the debt on your behalf, just remember that before pursuing legal efforts you must have made a bona fide effort to collect on the debt. That can include a deposit reconciliation you have already provided.

    The Cares Act
    For rental owners who hold a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act is still in place and prohibits termination for non-payment of rent with less than 30 days notice:

    Through February 28, 2022, landlords were required to apply any payments received to current rent first and outstanding rent from prior rental periods came last. For landlords who have continued to apply payments to current rent first after February 28, 2022, you may have created waiver. Seek legal advice.

    • Property subsidized with federal funds
    • Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan
    • Even one Section 8 voucher holder in multi-unit complex - entire property is subject to Section 4024 of CARES
    • Attorneys recommend serving a 30/30 for the debt – a 30-day Notice of Termination with Cause with a 30-day right to cure instead of the usual 14-day cure period

    This column offers general suggestions only and is no substitute for professional legal counsel. Please consult with an attorney for advice related to your specific situation.

    Rev 9.2022

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 8:30 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Tia Politi, ORHA President
    Date: 09/07/2022

    The new Forms Manual is out this month
    It’s been a wild ride over the past two-and-a-half years, with ever-changing regulations, but we have finally finished the new Forms Manual! Local chapters can begin placing orders through Wild Apricot. Thank you all for your patience, it’s been a grueling project, made more challenging by our new numbering system, but we’re finally ready. Read ORHA Technology Chair, Cloud Miller’s outline of the new system later in this newsletter. 

    Welcome back – What’s new?
    Hope everyone had a chance to get some R & R in during August, because now it’s time to get back to work. I continue to be amazed at the progress being made by our ORHA Office Manager Ben Seamans with the help of Technology Chair Cloud Miller. At our last Executive Committee meeting, Ben unveiled another technological advance for our chapters regarding the monthly membership reports. What has been a challenging process for all of our chapters but especially the smaller groups is now streamlined and incorporated into Microsoft Teams. The new system allows members to easily and quickly prepare their reports which automatically get saved into the correct folder. Ben will be presenting the new system this month at our Bend meeting.

    Cloud and Ben have been working tirelessly to drag us into the new age and I got choked up when Ben presented the new system because it was so great. When I look back over the past several months since Ben took over as ORHA Office Manager, his impact on ORHA has been astounding. In less than a year, he has taken us to a new level of efficiency and professionalism. And now Cloud has an office partner that can implement all the great ideas that have been swirling in his giant tech brain all these years. Go Team ORHA!

    September Board Meeting & Leadership Dinner
    One of our most fun meetings of the year is this month and marks our annual meeting in Bend. Always a great time! Continuing the tradition started by former ORHA President Terry Flora Turner, our Leadership Dinner at McMenamins is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 16th after Committee Meetings earlier in the day. This is a great opportunity to share a lovely meal, hear updates on our committees, and the direction we are heading for the next year. Attendance is open to officers of our local chapters, along with committee chairs and/or delegates, up to two per association, and each guest can bring a plus one.

    Hope to see you there!

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 8:25 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Benjamyn Seamans
    Date: 09/07/2022

    Hello all, I look forward to seeing the group for our September meetings in Bend! On Friday September 16, 2022, ORHA will be having their committee meetings – If you are a delegate and would like to join a committee meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the schedule and virtual links (this notice was emailed out last month). Friday evening, ORHA will be hosting their Leadership Dinner and this invite was emailed out last month.

    Additionally, on Saturday September 17, 2022, ORHA will be having their September board meeting – If you are a delegate and would like to join the board meeting, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com for the meeting link and required NDA. Board Members, please keep an eye out in your email during the week of 09/12/2022 for the board packet – Presenters, please have your board packet reports submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com NO LATER THAN 09/11/2022.

    Lastly, on Sunday September 18, 2022, ORHA will be having an ORHA Education Inc. Meeting from 09:00 am – 10:00 am in Tia’s Hotel Suite.

    If you plan on attending the Bend meetings, an online RSVP is required for both virtual and in-person attendance. We will have a private meeting room all day Friday and Saturday; however, due to lodging contract terms/restrictions and budgetary restrictions – ORHA was not able to secure a room block for lodging. Members will be responsible for securing their own lodging and this is explained in further details on the Board Meeting Notice. The Board Meeting Notice and Reservation details were emailed out last month – If you have any questions, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com.

    With our new professional emails in place, ORHA has drafted a Microsoft Email User Policy that was presented during the July meeting in Silverton. This policy will be executed by all ORHA email users and will help ORHA maintain quality of control, emphasizing an importance on cyber security, and association cyber safety – email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com to receive a copy of this user policy. Moving forward, please be sure to email by position (i.e. President, Vice President or Secretary) or topic (i.e. Forms, Technology, or Social Media) – not by person.

    Please be vigilant of email scams and always double check that the email address ends in @OregonRentalHousing.com. Remember, email display names can be masked and it’s extremely important that you click on the name to verify the email address is legitimate. No ORHA members will ever request money or wire transfers via email, we’ll never offer any kind of legal advice, and our email addresses will always end with our website, @OregonRentalHousing.com. Please be vigilant in verifying the source before opening attachments.

    All invoices are to be submitted to Office@OregonRentalHousing.com, they are then taken out of email for an approval process that’s tracked with the Executive Committee and more secure from Email Scams. Please do not email invoices directly to Bookkeeper or Treasurer; for cyber-security reasons, neither officials will approve or pay an invoice outside of the official approval process (starting with submitting the initial invoice to office).

    Our office is periodically checking emails and voicemails Monday through Thursday should you have any questions or concerns; however, please be advised that ORHA will not be returning calls or emails regarding landlord helpline questions or tenant questions. If you are a current member looking to contact your local association or are new member looking to join a local association, please visit www.oregonrentalhousing.com/about.

    To submit your ideas for an upcoming newsletter, please email Office@OregonRentalHousing.com by the 1st of the month.

    ** Reminder that the ORHA Monthly Membership Dues Form must be submitted by the 15th of each month **

    Benjamyn Seamans
    office@oregonrentalhousing.com | Voicemail: (541) 515-7723

  • Wednesday, September 07, 2022 7:58 PM | Benjamyn Seamans (Administrator)

    By: Cloud Miller, ORHA Technology Chair
    Date: 09/07/2022

    For years, the ORHA Forms Committee has numbered our forms sequentially and just kept adding new numbers to new forms, regardless of what the form was used for. This year marks a big change for us; we are implementing a system that will group the forms in a logical order that we hope will help our members keep track of what forms serve which purpose during the tenancy. 

    The new form numbers will always start with a letter indicating group they belong to:
    Screening Forms = S
    Move-in Forms = M
    Operational Forms = O
    Violation Forms = V
    Termination Forms = T

    There are, however, some forms that belong to more than one group, for example, the Reasonable Accommodation and Verification Form. Because it can be used both at move-in and operationally during the tenancy, it is numbered MO1 (Move-in / Operational #1).

    For forms that overlap categories, we have combined letters to indicate that:
    MO – for Move-in and Operational
    MT - for Move-in and Termination
    VT – for Violation and Termination

    Portland-specific forms are designated with a PD suffix as well as the group code and number. For example, Portland has its own screening forms so the form Application Screening Guidelines – Landlord Choice, is labeled S6PD (Screening, #6, Portland-specific). Also, for Portland Landlords the Forms Store has a button you can click to show only the Portland forms and other state forms that are okay to use in the City of Portland. 

    In addition, the ORHA Forms Store (https://store.oregonrentalhousing.com) will automatically direct you to the Portland-specific version of a form as needed by detecting the City entered as “Portland” for the Property Address portion of the web-form. For Portland-specific forms, if another city is entered and you will be re-directed back to the appropriate form.

    As cities pile on law overlays, it becomes much more difficult to keep our members up to date, so if other cities come up with their own distinct rules, we will use a two-letter code to identify the special form for use in that city.

    By grouping forms that belong together in the Forms Manual and in the Forms Store, we continue our mission to help our members across the state build financial stability and generational wealth through rental property ownership. Our next Forms Store project will allow our users to fill out one form and then have any other selected forms auto populated with the same information.

    There are great things ahead – thank you for your support!

    Cloud Miller, ORHA Technology Chair

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PO Box 20862, Keizer, OR 97307
Email: office@OregonRentalHousing.com 

The Oregon Rental Housing Association (ORHA) is a non-profit educational landlord association -- ORHA Board Members, Mentors, Staff, and/or other related ORHA affiliates do not give legal advice. Please be advised that any information provided  is no substitute for professional legal counsel and any advice or guidance given does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for legal advice related to your specific situation.

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