By: Jason Miller, ORHA Legislative Director
October 27, 2021
Thousands of Housing Providers across Oregon received notification from Residents that they applied for rental assistance. Once a Housing Provider receives that notification, they are required to give Residents a sixty (60) day stay from eviction. While some Housing Providers have received assistance checks many are left wondering what is going on. To make things worse, for most of them, we are past or approaching the end of the sixty (60) day stay from eviction.
Housing Providers do not necessarily want to evict a tenant if they know their Resident qualifies and rental assistance is coming. But with no communication from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) or the local Community Action Agencies Housing Providers are making the heartbreaking decision to file for eviction. How many of those eviction filings could be avoided if the Housing Provider received a simple email or phone call saying your Resident qualifies and the rent is on the way? I suspect a large percentage of Housing Providers would hold off a little longer if they knew the assistance was coming. Remember, the alternative is to evict the tenant in hopes the unit can be rented to someone able to pay. The Housing Provider will incur costs of turning over the rental property to make it ready to rent and lose any chance at being made whole on past-due rent. However, to some this sounds more attractive than being left in the dark wondering when, or if, assistance will come.
While some believe the answer is to increase the sixty (60) day stay on eviction to ninety (90) or one hundred and twenty (120) days, my message has been to increase communication with Housing Providers and involve them in the process. Housing Providers do not want to go through the process of eviction if it is preventable and would rather receive rental assistance than a loss in income. My belief is most Housing Providers would naturally, without any requirement, wait another 30 or 60 days if they knew and had a guarantee that rental assistance was coming.
This message has been relayed to OHCS and Legislators in hopes they will improve their communication process to avoid unnecessary evictions. We have received promises of improvement but for some it may be too late and until the promises are fulfilled Housing Providers will still need to make that gut-wrenching decision to evict their Resident or continue to not receive any payment, uncertain if assistance will ever come.