• Monday, June 29, 2020 12:41 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By Tia Politi, ORHA Secretary

    Addressing tenant violations of the rental agreement is challenging anytime, but for rental owners facing issues with their tenants right now, it’s especially frustrating. The Governor’s moratorium combined with the Oregon courts closures that relegate eviction actions to the lowest tier of concerns, is becoming ruinous for some.

    Worried that your tenants will bail owing thousands of dollars? I believe it will happen, but I also think it’s less likely to happen if you take a thoughtful, considered approach. While your property rights have been suspended for a time, there are still tools at your disposal: compassion, education, negotiation, social service referrals, non-compliance notices, and the police. Also, in extreme cases, the courts are still expediting urgent matters.

    This crisis and the calls I’m getting on the Helpline are highlighting rental owners’ collective weaknesses in the areas of relationship-building, negotiation, conflict resolution and tenant non-compliance. It’s also spotlighting poor business practices for some who were having problems with their renters prior to the crisis, but didn’t take action, or who are lazy screeners and really didn’t bother to check out their residents.

    Relationship building
    We build relationships with our customers by providing great service, listening, responding in a timely fashion, addressing issues that concern them, appreciating their business, thanking them for their efforts - you know, the way you build a good relationship with anyone in business. Of course, genuine concern is hard to fake, so if you have looked down your nose at your renters and haven’t invested time building relationships with them it’s going to be a hard sell now. No one is receptive to information from someone who they don’t think cares about them, even superficially, so if you don’t want your renters to bail, better be sure to let them know that you care not only for yourself, but for them and their situation.

    Expressing compassion for the times we’re in, using kindness and persuasion, and offering resources are the best tools we have right now (or most any time). Regardless of the situation, speak respectfully, let them speak, hear them out fully, ask questions to clarify their issues, let them know that you understand the stress of the times, you want them to be stable in their housing, now and in the future, you’re willing to work with them, then offer resources where they might get some help. I really think this is almost always the way to go, but now more than ever.

    The art of negotiation
    Negotiation skills are critical to overall success in managing property. The most successful managers always keep their cool, treat people with dignity and respect, clearly communicate what they can and cannot do (and why), and work to resolve issues in a way that helps everyone save face and get at least some of what they want or need. Force someone to agree to your terms, demean them and their opinions, treat them like dirt and they will get their revenge. Rental owners who don’t have good people skills end up paying in many ways: intentional property destruction, online defamation, toxic stress. Does that mean caving in to unreasonable demands or not enforcing your agreement? No, and while it’s important to give people space to feel heard, and seek to provide what support we can, people need to solve their own problems. Beware of getting too emotionally invested in your tenant’s problems or too involved in achieving solutions. Offer help and referrals, but don’t be the total solution or give more than you should.

    Also, don’t deny that you have self-interest in whatever the issue is. We all have self-interest and acknowledging that lets the other person know that you’re not pretending that it’s all about them and what they want, thereby making you seem disingenuous.

    Right now, for landlords who are trying to sell property, renovate, demolish or move in an immediate family member, let the tenant know that it’s coming. They may find it more convenient to move in the summer or fall rather than the dead of winter and take the initiative to find another place. For property managers, see if it’s possible to find them another unit that meets their needs.

    Cash for keys is also a viable option. Nothing prohibits negotiating a mutual termination agreement. You can try to incentive a move out by agreeing to refund the deposit in full, forgive any back-owed rent or some other concession to sweeten the deal. If you do make such an agreement, put it in writing and don’t hand over any money until they are handing you the keys on their way out of the unit.

    Conflict resolution
    You’ll never talk someone else out of their position or get them to see yours if they view you as the enemy. I’m not telling you to be fake, flattering or obsequious, just approachable, warm and caring. You may not understand where someone is coming from, but taking the time to just listen can give a lot of people what they want. Don’t we all want to be heard by someone?

    In my career as a property manager, I was told by many residents that I was the best manager they had ever had. I attribute that to my willingness to listen, treat everyone with dignity and respect, help them to the best of my ability but also help them understand my limitations (boss, company policy, finances, laws, owners). My job often involved telling people no, but I always explained why. As a kid I bet you didn’t like being told no without an explanation. Well, grown adults don’t like it either. Often when you explain why you are not unwilling but unable to give them what they want, it can help them see that you’re not the enemy and start a dialogue which is the basis for truly functional communication.

    As social animals, people arrange themselves in classes and hierarchies, at least in their own minds. For rental owners, we can be perceived as The Man – and in some ways we are The Man. We have the right to lay down rules for how other people get to live, kick them out if they don’t follow our rules or pay their rent. For that reason, and others, residents may not be able to hear the message that you’re actually trying to work with them, see them as a valued customer and are trying to help them be stable in their housing. They may believe that you see them only as a source of money. It’s your job to treat your customers in such a way that they feel valued in the relationship and feel that you care about them as people. That builds social capital that engenders trust, helps you resolve conflicts more easily, and makes it more likely they will see you as an ally not an opponent, and less likely they will feel okay bailing out.

    Focus on the problem, not the person
    If you’re dealing with non-payment of rent, share rent assistance information, indicate your willingness to give them time to catch up. If they’re on a rent strike, remind them it likely won’t be granted, so don’t spend the money. It will need to be paid back eventually. Educate them on the risks to their credit and rental history, and explain your own financial situation. Many people don’t understand all that rental owners are responsible for and the costs they incur for maintenance. I find it helpful to disclose the costs of certain improvements when I do them so they have some idea what I’m putting into the property each year.

    I’m hearing from rental owners whose tenants are likely damaging the home, but are denying entry “due to COVID-19” but have multiple people coming and going, or inviting unauthorized people to live there, making their denial more than a little disingenuous. Then there are residents who are high risk, fragile, and super-scared of getting sick, who are exhibiting reactions to COVID-19 that you may think are over the top. Providing assurance that you care for their well-being and asking them under what conditions they would consider allowing entry, then following those instructions to the letter, can get them to let you in if they’re truly frightened.

    Whatever the reason for denial of entry, if it’s unreasonable the law says that’s a lease violation and a landlord can serve a notice of termination with cause for that, but what about now? I can’t say how a judge would see this, but would they think denial of entry during the pandemic is unreasonable? Maybe, maybe not, and remember, you’re not getting to court very fast.

    In the end, regardless of how nice you are, it isn’t going to help you address anything if the tenant refuses to respond or communicate in any way. All you can do is hunker down, keep documenting what is going on, serve notice if you need to and file in court if you must.

    There is no problem so big that you getting angry or judgmental won’t make it worse
    Do I get angry? For sure. Am I judgmental about the choices some people make? You bet. Will it help me to express that? No way. No matter what happens, keep your cool. Focus on the problem, not the person and you’ll find ways to express your concerns without the not-so-subtle put downs. For example:

    • “It must be hard to keep up with the house and yard with a job and four kids, but I’m concerned about damage to the property. Is there anything I can do to help you get back on track?”
    • “I’m hearing that you have someone else living with you. Not sure if that’s true, but we can discuss options for getting them on the lease or adding them as a temporary occupant. What’s the situation?”
    • “I’m hearing from the neighbors that there has been occasional fighting that is disturbing to them. Being in this crisis is impacting everyone and I’m concerned for you. I hope you understand that I have to keep the peace and I will have to serve you a notice if it doesn’t stop, but I want to make sure you know that if you don’t feel safe, there are ways I can help and places to get help.”
    • “You have a lot of personal property in the unit and I’m concerned for the home, but also your safety. Can we collaborate on a plan to help you get things under control?”
    • “You haven’t been paying your rent during this time. I want you to be stable in your housing, and I’m concerned that you might get so far behind that you’ll never catch up. I don’t want this to impact your life in the future, so just know that I’m willing to take payments when this is all over.”

    Certainly, being calm and courteous doesn’t solve every issue. We’ve all had experiences with people who for whatever reason were impossible to work with or satisfy. Some people have degrees of mental illness, PTSD, or borderline personalities that can be barriers to communication, collaboration and resolution. They can be manipulative or swing from one extreme emotion or action to another. Then there’s the everyday criminal types, who just don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves.

    If you hit the wall where communication breaks down and find it best to walk away you can say something like, “I’m feeling uncomfortable so I’m going to leave/hang up now. Let me know if you decide you want to talk again.” There’s no blame in that message, only that you’re feeling uncomfortable but you’re open to more conversation, and the decision is theirs.

    Trauma-informed care – dealing with PTSD
    In these turbulent times, each of us is experiencing the current crises in different ways. I pride myself on being a rock, an island as Simon and Garfunkel so poetically described it, but I’ve been anxious lately. Due to childhood scarcity, I’m a stock-piler of necessities pretty much all the time, but I started feeling anxious about products I had plenty of (toilet paper, paper towels, rice, beans). It was weird and not extreme, but I noticed it, and it put me on edge and made me want to double down on buying more and more, ugh.

    For someone experiencing a current scarcity, with a history of scarcity and lacking a decent support system of friends and family, I can only imagine how much more extreme the anxiety would be. Now imagine feeling that someone is threatening your shelter. Regardless of how irresponsible the choices may have been that led them to this moment, it’s still a really bad place to be. Everyone understands wanting to point out to someone the error of their ways. Don’t succumb to that temptation, it won’t help.

    Think about what’s going through their mind. Where will they go? What will they do? Will they be homeless? How will they ever get into another place? Even if you’re approach is just right and you’re talking about a risk to someone’s housing, you may get an extreme reaction. Some people may become dangerous and violent. Others might get suicidal. Be sure you have a route of exit if things get really ugly.

    Persistent stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), changes the physical structure of the brain. It shrinks the areas of the brain that help us regulate rational thoughts and actions, and over-activates the primal brain, the part that helps us survive through the fight, flight or freeze response to danger.

    When dealing with people who have PTSD, their brain highlights perceived threats (you possibly being one of them), and impairs their ability to see things rationally or find solutions to problems. This isn’t to say their condition excuses bad behavior, but it does explain why you may have trouble collaborating on solutions, and why you will be much more likely to have success using a calm and gentle approach. It may also help you avoid taking any outbursts personally.

    • Watch your body language and tone of voice. Keep your body open and relaxed, smile when appropriate, palms up, use a calm, soothing tone, but don’t be saccharine. Experts say that 7% of communication is verbal, the other 93% is tone of voice and body language. If the topic turns personal and aggressive, don’t respond in kind. “I can see you have strong feelings about that, and I want to understand how we can collaborate on a solution.”
    • Be empathetic and nonjudgmental. “That’s a tough spot to be in. What are you going to do? Can I offer a suggestion?” “Wow, that sounds pretty extreme, how are you coping with that?” Your responses should state your limitations while offering ideas. “Well, unfortunately, I can’t waive your rent because I have bills to pay too, but I can reduce your rent for a time or work with you to catch up. Have you heard about the state’s rent assistance fund?”
    • Focus on feelings. “I think we’re all feeling extra stressed right now. I think if we work on a plan, it may help us both cope with this situation.”
    • Ask for permission. “Would you be open to learning about some resources that could help right now?” It shows respect to ask if you can share resources, not just assume that they need what you have to offer or that your ideas are superior to theirs. If they say no, just move on. “Ok, no problem, just know there are resources available.”
    • Set limits. “I wish I could afford to waive your rent. You may not know my situation...”
    • Pick your battles. “My biggest concern right now is that we take care of X. I’m fine waiting to address Y and Z until later.” What is the most urgent matter right now? Focus just on that and ignore other little things that are driving you up the wall for now.
    • Allow silence for reflection. Don’t feel the need to fill every break in the conversation, and don’t repeat yourself.
    • Allow time for decisions. “How about we explore the possibilities we have discussed today and talk again in a few days?”
    • Use the technique of mirroring. Mirroring is a proven way to help build rapport with someone else by adopting similar patterns of speech and body language. You may be very different from your renters. If you’re a formal person speaking to another who is more relaxed, adopting a more relaxed attitude and posture can help you connect. Mirroring another person’s speech patterns can also help people feel that you’re not talking down to them or adopting a superior attitude, which is a proven rapport-killer.
    • Reframe what you hear them say. Reframing statements followed by solutions is a good way to help someone feel heard, be sure that you have received their message accurately and let them know you may have ideas to help. For example, “I hear you saying you have some money, but you’re concerned you may need that money to live and don’t feel you can pay anything at this time. Is that right? Can I share some resources with you that might help us both?”

    Sometimes conversations become circular or turn into what I call scattershot, jumping from topic to topic without any resolution for any of them. This pattern is pretty common with people who suffer from PTSD. If you are discussing a specific issue and the other party redirects the conversation to another issue, stop. Tell them that is an important thing to discuss. Write it down and let them know you can discuss that after you finish addressing the topic at hand. This may happen several times and takes patience to continue to write things down while trying to keep them on track, but it can work.

    Social services
    We don’t all get to have perfect renters who cope well, have an emergency fund, and the ability to handle problems that come their way. Residents with memory issues or disabilities, may need coaching and social service support. Think of ways that you can get them connected to support services or ways to bring them into compliance in a collaborative way that acknowledges the problem while also protecting their dignity.

    With a cooperative tenant and good social service supports, you may be able to develop a plan of action to help a struggling renter achieve compliance and stay housed. Sometimes it will take the extreme action of serving a notice of termination with cause before they awaken to the realities of their situation and agree to accept help, but it’s worth a try and if it does end badly, at least you’ll know that you did what you could.

    The 2-1-1 information service can be a great source of information on social service supports statewide. If your tenant is older or disabled and struggling, try contacting Senior & Disabled Services. If your tenant is having a mental health crisis, call Cahoots or White Bird. If there’s domestic violence, they can contact Womenspace or the Department of Human Resources. Whatever the problem, we are blessed to live in a caring community that funds a myriad of programs providing services to vulnerable people.

    Take it to court
    Aside from non-payment of rent, dealing with lease violations is causing the most consternation for landlords right now. If you are in a situation that has just broken down, remember you can still serve notices for tenant violations and file the action in court. You won’t see the inside of a courtroom for a while, but at least you’ll be in line when the logjam breaks. Also, some renters may cure the notice or move out if they can’t or don’t want to cure and want to avoid an eviction on their record. Or it can open the door to a negotiated move out. After a while, your wagging finger means nothing and decisive action can compel a response.

    If you have tenants in a lease, remember that a three strikes termination is not prohibited. You can move along the path of providing the required written warning notices for violations and even serve a 90-day notice of non-renewal once they hit the three strikes mark. Be sure you have good documentation of each violation, can prove that you sent the required notices with the required language within 30 days of discovering each violation and that your notice of termination is perfect in every way.

    For month-to-month tenants warning notices won’t serve to terminate tenancy, so at some point you may need to serve a notice of termination with cause. If they don’t cure or move out, you can file in court, just remember if you accept rent beyond the date of termination you will create waiver and your notice will be void.

    If you have a severe situation, such as outrageous conduct (drugs, violence, substantial damage), you may be able to expedite your case once it is filed. It requires appearing in court at what is called an exparte hearing, and pleading for the judge to allow the case to be pushed through more quickly, or you or affected renters might consider trying to get an order of protection. This has worked for a couple of recent Helpline callers who were being threatened or stalked by their tenants, and for a tenant who was abusing and harassing others at a multi-family complex. This is the fastest way to get a dangerous person out of the unit, and it doesn’t cost anything.

    The takeaway

    Build good relationships with your renters so you have social capital in bad times.

    Treat people with dignity and compassion regardless of circumstance.

    Offer resources to your renters when they need help, but don’t try to solve their problems for them.

    Control your negative emotions.

    Enforce your agreement when you must.

    Managing housing for other humans is a job like no other, providing frustration aplenty, but in these uncertain times when rental owners are clearly shouldering a disproportionate burden, I’m heartened to hear most renters are paying their rent, taking care of the property and being good neighbors.

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

    About the Author: Tia Politi is a licensed property manager, rental owner, and president of the Rental Owners Association of Lane County. She serves as the secretary for the Oregon Rental Housing Association (ORHA) and ORHA Education, Inc., heads up the ORHA Forms Committee, serves as a volunteer instructor for St. Vincent de Paul’s Second Chance Renter’s Rehab Program, and teaches classes in rental management throughout the state, including a class teaching high school seniors the basics of renting a home. Tia owns and operates Rental Housing Support Services, LLC, providing consultation, landlord-tenant training, mediation, notice prep and service, eviction support, and telephone helpline services.

  • Monday, June 29, 2020 12:21 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By Jim Straub, ORHA Legislative Director
    June 29, 2020

    During the eviction moratorium, more families, whether they can pay all of their rent or not, will have housing in this unsettling period of time.

    For a landlord, the only way to access State or Federal rent assistance resources, is to have a current tenant that is in arrears. It benefits no one for a tenant to be evicted during a time of high unemployment, and high vacancies. For a landlord, after three months under the current Executive Order, the best way to receive any monies owed is to agree to this temporary extension while state and federal resources are brought to bear.

    A landlords right to not renew a lease or month to month tenancy in the first year of occupancy is extended to a 30 day period of time at the end of the moratorium for those tenancies that reached the one year mark during this time.

    The ability for a homeowner, or in the event of a sale for a new property owner to move back into their own home is preserved.

    The ability for a landlord to remove tenants that are being disruptive, or outright damaging the property is restored.

    The statute of limitations on amounts owed to a landlord is extended equal to the amount of time the moratorium is in place, this assures landlords that their normal period of time to arrange collection of past due amounts is unaltered.

    We are all bearing witness to something that neither landlords or tenants are at fault for. This bill is temporary, and is the just and humane thing to do.

  • Saturday, June 27, 2020 10:36 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By Clay Carsner
    June 6, 2020

    Below is and updated summary of HB 4213 which passed the House at 43-14 and Senate at 19-8 on Friday, June 26th. It contains the writer’s opinions and interpretation of the bill.

    Section 1.
    This section states that it circumvents contractual law by the state of Oregon due to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor.

    Section 2.
    Adding the bill and making it a part of ORS chapter 90.

    Section 3.
    Defining the "emergency period" from 04/01/2020 to 09/30/2020.

    Defining "nonpayment of rent" as rent, late charges, utility charges or service charges accrued during the emergency period as outlined in the rental agreement.

    Defining "nonpayment balance" as all or a part of the net total amount of all items of nonpayment by a tenant.

    Defining " "termination notice without cause" as a notice delivered by a landlord under ORS 90.427 (3)(b), (4)(b) or (c), (5)(a) to (c), or (8)(a)(B) or (b)(B).  This does not include (5)(b), the selling of a rental unit and a buyer moving in.

    During and after the emergency period a landlord may not and may not threaten to:

    (a) Deliver a notice of termination of a rental agreement based on a tenant’s nonpayment balance; 

    (b) Initiate or continue an action under ORS 105.110 to take possession of a dwelling unit based on a notice of termination for nonpayment delivered on or after April 1, 2020; 

    (c) Take any action that would interfere with a tenant’s possession or use of a dwelling unit based on a tenant’s nonpayment balance; 

    (d) Assess a late fee or any other penalty on a tenant’s nonpayment; or

    (e) Report a tenant’s nonpayment balance as delinquent to any consumer credit reporting agency.  

    When a landlord receives payments from a tenant or on behalf of a tenant and before applying those payments to the nonpayment balance a landlord shall first apply the payments, in the following order, to: 

    (a) Rent for the current rental period; 

    (b) Utility or service charges;

    (c) Late rent payment charges; and

    (d) 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.

    This is a change from ORS 90.222 (9)

    If the tenant's one year of tenancy expired during the emergency period and a landlord wants to give a no cause termination notice, they may do so after the emergency period ends and is extended to mean a period lasting until 30 days following the emergency period.

    Starting on 10/01/2020 a tenant with a nonpayment balance has a six-month grace period ending on 03/31/2020 to pay the nonpayment balance.

    On 10/01/2020 a landlord may deliver a written notice to the tenant that the emergency period ended and that all rent, charges, and fees from 10/01/2020 are due and must be paid or a termination notice may be given.

    The nonpayment balance that accrued from 04/01/2020 to 09/30/2020 is still due and must be paid with no late charge.

    The tenant has a six-month grace period to repay the nonpayment balance by 03/31/2021.

    The tenant has 14 days to respond from the receipt of the notice to pay the nonpayment balance by the end of the six-month grace period. Failure of a response from the tenant to use the grace period may result in a 50% of one month’s rent following the end of the grace period.

    The tenant’s response must be actual notice as per 90.150 or by electronic means.

    If a landlord violates Section 3, a tenant may recover an amount up to three months’ rent, actual damages, and or attorney fees.

    Section 4 states that section is repealed on 03/31/2021.  

    Section 5 deals with the grace period which runs from 10/01/2020 to 03/31/2021. The language is very similar to Section 3.

    Section 6 is a repeal of section 5 on 03/31/2021.

    Section 7 is a "tolled" statement for the period of limitation of the bill for claims by a landlord based on the tenant's nonpayment or nonpayment balance as defined in Section 3.

    *Tolling is a legal doctrine that allows for the pausing or delaying of the running of the period of time set forth by a statute of limitations, such that a lawsuit may potentially be filed even after the statute of limitations has run.

    Section 8 declares an emergency and takes effect on passage.

    Link to Bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020S1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB4213/A-Engrossed 

  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020 8:44 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    June 24, 2020

    Per today’s special session, here are some of the highlights of HB 4213. It is in currently in flux and there may still be changes. There is a work session on the bill tomorrow sometime after 10 AM.

    The bill will extend the eviction moratorium (emergency period) until September 30, 2020.  This period runs from 04/01/2020 to 09/30/2020.

    If a tenant does not pay October's rent and going forward from 10/01/2020, a landlord may issue a 72-hour notice for non-payment of rent. All provisions of ORS chapter 90 are back in force except for Section 3 of the bill. 

    Highlights of section 3:

    A landlord may not issue any termination notice for non-payment of rent, charges, fees, utility charges or any other service charge or fee, as described in the rental agreement or ORS 91.090, 91.210 or 91.220, during the emergency period. This is called "non-payment balance".

    A landlord may issue a notice to the tenant to come into a payment agreement for the rent, charges, fees, ETC. (non-payment balance) that have accrued during the emergency period. This does not include late fees as they are prohibited during the moratorium. Tenant has 14 days to respond. The period for the repayment is called the "grace period". This runs from 10/01/2020 to March 31, 2021. The penalty for a tenant that does not respond back to a landlord is a onetime penalty of 50% of the month's rent.

    If the tenant’s one year of tenancy expired during the emergency period and a landlord wants to give a no cause termination notice, they may do so.

    The date for giving the no cause termination notice is at the end of the emergency period, 09/30/2020.

    All rent, charges, & fees after the emergency period expires, 09/30/2020, are due and must be paid as usual. If not a termination notice may be given.

    If a landlord violates the provision of Section 3 in the bill, a tenant may recover 3 months’ rent plus actual damages and attorney’s fees.

    Section 3 ends on 03/30/2021.

    Of note in today's hearing, ORS 90-427 5 (b) was discussed at length and may be included in the final bill. This is where a rental unit is sold and the buyer is moving in with a 90-day notice with relocation money if it applies.

    The -6 amendment was also discussed at length also. This amendment would provide money for rent (non -payment balance) that is not paid from 04/01/2020 to the end of the emergency period.


    The following link is also a good read of the bill:

    Link to the bill:

    Link to the -7 amendment:

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 10:21 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    May 19, 2020

    The state has provided $8.5M in rent assistance to help struggling Oregonians impacted by COVID-19. That money was allocated to the following organizations:

    ACCESS, Inc.
    (541) 779-6691

    Lane County Human Services Commission (LCHHS)
    (541) 682-3798

    Community Action (CAO)
    (503) 648-6646

    Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC)
    (541) 298-5131

    Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO)
    (800) 752-1139

    Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA)
    (503) 585-6232

    Community Action Team, Inc. (CAT)
    (503) 397-3511

    Multnomah County Department of Human Services
    (503) 988-7453

    Community Connection of Northeast Oregon (CCNO)
    (541) 963-3186

    Neighborhood Impact (NIMPACT)
    (541) 548-2380

    Clackamas County Social Services Department (CCSSD)
    (503) 655-8640

    Oregon Human Development Corporation (OHDC)
    (855) 215-6158

    Community in Action (CINA)
    (541) 889-1060

    Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA)
    (541) 435-7080

    Community Service Consortium (CSC)
    (541) 752-1010

    United Community Action Network (UCAN)
    (541) 672-5392

    Klamath/Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS)
    (541) 882-3500

    Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP)
    (503) 472-0457

  • Friday, April 24, 2020 9:44 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    April 23, 2020

    The Interim Legislative Emergency Board just passed $8.5 million for rental assistance due to impact of Covid 19. It looks like $12 million at first blush, but $3.5 of that went for safe shelter alternatives.

    Staff summary:

    Item 1: Housing and Community Services Department
    Safe Shelter and Rental Assistance

    Analyst: Michelle Deister

    Request: Allocate a total of $12,000,000 from the Emergency Fund to the Housing and Community Services Department for rental assistance and safe shelter alternatives for Oregonians who have been impacted by income loss (unemployment or underemployment) due to COVID-19, or who are especially vulnerable to infection or health problems associated with virus because of inadequate shelter or housing.

    Description: The Housing and Community Services Department (HCSD) will direct up to $3,500,000 of allocated funding for safe shelter alternatives, which can include hotel and motel vouchers for vulnerable populations including the homeless and farmworkers, whose living situations and underlying health conditions make them particularly susceptible to severe consequences from exposure to COVID-19. These funds are intended to be directly awarded by HCSD to organizations identified or informed by regional Continuums of Care. In the event that funds could not be subscribed and utilized within six months from the time of award by HCSD in the region in which they were allocated, the funds are to be redirected to rental assistance payments by the receiving entities.

    At least $8,500,000 is to be disbursed by HCSD to Community Action Agencies utilizing the Master Grant Agreement, for the purpose providing rental assistance payments to landlords on behalf of those impacted by income loss due to COVID-19. HCSD will target this rental assistance to COVID impacted low income people at 50% or less of area median income.

    These amounts are intended to be used for direct assistance payments to Oregonians; expenditures by disbursing organizations such as outreach, data collection, supportive in-home services or organizational capacity building are not deemed allowable uses of the funds. These funds are intended to be one-time in nature.

    Recommendation: The Co-Chairs of the Emergency Board recommend approval of an allocation of $12,000,000 from the Emergency Fund to the Housing and Community Services Department for safe shelter alternatives and rental assistance payments to COVID-19 impacted Oregonians.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2020 9:46 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    By: Brian Cox, Attorney at Law
    pril 15, 2020

    As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold in Oregon, residential and commercial landlords seeking to regain possession of their rental properties are currently faced with a myriad of restrictions from several vectors, radically changing their ‘pre-pandemic’ way of doing things.

    Rationale: There are two primary reasons driving these actions: limiting the spread of the coronavirus by limiting evictions or otherwise ‘de-housing’ people in order to avoid greater COVID-19 exposure; and, the pragmatic recognition that the current extraordinary health needs leading to the closure of restaurants, schools, and all ‘non-essential’ businesses will cause a wide swath of our population to lose their jobs and businesses in order for everyone to ‘shelter in place’ and care for homebound family members, leaving many Oregonians unable to pay their rent through no fault of their own.

    Executive Orders: Under Governor Brown’s current Executive Orders, landlords may not issue termination notices or file, prosecute, or execute ‘economic evictions’ for non-payment of rent, utilities, service charges, late fees, or other charges, without regard to whether the non-payment is the result of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Executive Orders also suspend the imposition of late fees and prohibit law enforcement from serving or enforcing evictions of any kind. Landlords are also prohibited from issuing ‘no-cause’ or ‘landlord-cause’ termination notices or evictions: the former happens during the first year of tenancy or with owner occupied two-unit lots (typically duplexes or ‘mother-in-law’ units); the latter occur when a landlord wants to move in or move a family member into the rental, a buyer wants to live in the rental, the rental needs major renovation work, or the rental is being converted to ‘non-rental’ purposes. Unable to remove their tenants, rental property sellers are unable to deliver possession of the property for an indeterminate amount of time, causing many real estate transactions to fail.

    Chief Justice Orders: Under Chief Justice Walters’ current orders, all stages of eviction proceedings are automatically postponed until after May 31st, with the caveat that evictions involving domestic violence, most situations giving rise to a 24-hour termination notice, and similar ‘high need’ eviction cases may proceed by seeking leave of court, following a process to be developed by each court (though trying to set and advance these cases may be difficult and/or follow uncertain timelines). Residential and commercial evictions may still be filed – though evictions for non-payment or ‘no cause’ or ‘landlord-cause’ evictions are prohibited (violation is now a Class “C” Misdemeanor), and such ‘non-compliant’ evictions may be accepted or rejected at filing, depending on local court practice. When an eviction is filed, the first appearance setting and service of summons and complaint will all occur according to statute, only the FED summons and complaint will be accompanied by a multi-language notice advising the parties the first appearance date is automatically postponed to a later date and will be followed by a future court notice informing them of the new hearing date (notice below. Evictions that do proceed or that later proceed are expected to utilize the court’s newly-developed rules for court appearances, including efiling documents and exhibits and remote appearances by parties, witnesses and lawyers where possible.

    Federal Action: While federal law does not directly prohibit all evictions, portions of the CARES Act require all landlords with federally-backed mortgages, including those covered by HUD, USDA, FHA, VA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to forgo evicting their tenants by placing a 60-day moratorium (beginning March 18th), and providing those landlords with various forms of relief, including a 180-day loan forbearance (which can be extended another 180 days at the borrower’s request). The Act allows multifamily housing owners with a federally-backed mortgage to request a forbearance for up to 30 days (which can be extended another 60 days at the borrower’s request), on the condition that they agree not to evict tenants or charge late fees. The Act also institutes a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by a federally-backed mortgage for 120 days of enactment. The Act provides a temporary moratorium on evictions for most residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments).

    Local Ordinance: Multnomah County, Portland, Clackamas County, Gresham and Hillsboro have each imposed their own form of moratorium on evictions, and residential and commercial property owners would be wise to seek current information specific to their jurisdiction before proceeding.

    Oregon Legislature: In short, the Oregon legislature has yet to take any action regarding the pandemic.

    What is a residential or commercial landlord to do? With access to the courts effectively prohibited, at this point for months, many have asked what they should do considering the constant barrage of bad news. First, opening lines of communications and making payment arrangements and/or accepting partial payments from your tenants is likely a good option, and in some cases, may be the only payment you receive. Next, keep in mind that the COVID-19 state moratorium does not apply to conduct-based notices or evictions. If you have truly troublesome or dangerous tenants, your remedies are still intact – just delayed for now in many situations.  Finally, remember that the moratorium creates a payment deferral, not a payment forgiveness. Governor Brown’s executive order was explicitly clear that all amounts owed – except late fees – remain due and owing.

    In this writer’s opinion – Neither tenants nor property owners should have to stand alone bearing the social or economic burden of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Perhaps the ‘best’ economically- and socially-rational way for the federal and state governments to preserve housing stability for families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and struggling to cover housing expenses is by creating emergency rental assistance programs through a drastic short-term expansion of the Rental Assistance Vouchers program or similar programs. This should be the first and highest priority with regard to the allocation of funds provided to Oregon through the Federal CARES Act – immediately infusing cash for rent payments into the hands of renters and landlords. The eviction moratorium can also be better tailored to safeguard owners’ ability to effectively affect repairs and manage their communities, while allowing more types of housing providers access to mortgage forbearance, ensuring fairness and flexibility in its terms, and by providing financial assistance for property-level financial obligations such as property taxes, utilities or insurance payments and by extending credit to multifamily mortgage servicers, small landlords and multifamily businesses using the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

    We are in this together, and together we are stronger.

    Be Well,
    Brian Cox

    This information is current as of April 15th, 2020. Time and answers are changing rapidly, and all readers are encouraged to seek the most current and reliable information available.

    * * *Court notice accompanying FED Summons * * *


    On April 1, 2020, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 which, among other things, prohibits the filing of certain eviction cases. The Executive Order was effective immediately and remains in effect for 90 days unless extended or terminated earlier by the Governor.

    • A violation of Executive Order 20-13 could subject you to criminal penalties including a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,250.00 and up to 30 days in jail.
    • If you file your complaint, your filing fee will not be refunded, even if it is subject to the Executive Order.
    • You should review the full Executive Order to determine if it applies to the complaint you are filing. Available at: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/pages/eo_20-13.aspx.
    • If you have questions, you may want to contact an attorney.

    The following are excerpts from Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-13:

    “1. Residential Tenancies.

    a. During this moratorium, landlords of residential properties in Oregon shall not, for reason of nonpayment as defined in paragraph 1(b) of this Executive Order, terminate any tenant’s rental agreement; take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating to residential evictions pursuant to or arising under ORS 105.105 through 105.168, including, without limitation, filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfere in any way with such tenant’s right to possession of the tenant’s dwelling unit.

    b. The term “nonpayment” as used in paragraph 1 of this Executive Order means any nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, as described in ORS 90.392(2)(a) or (c), 90.394, or 90.630(1)(d) or (10), or any termination without cause under ORS 90.427. All other terms used in paragraph 1 of this Executive Order shall have the same meanings as set forth in ORS chapters 90 or 105.

    c. Nothing in paragraph 1 of this Executive Order relieves a residential tenant’s obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees, except for late charges or other penalties arising from nonpayment which are specifically waived by and during this moratorium. Additionally, paragraph 1 of this Executive Order does not apply to the termination of residential rental agreements for causes other than nonpayment.

    d. * * *

    2. Non-Residential Tenancies.

    a. During this moratorium, landlords of non-residential properties in Oregon shall not, for reason of nonpayment as defined in paragraph 2(b) of this Executive Order, terminate any tenant’s lease; take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating to non-residential evictions pursuant to or arising under ORS 105.105 through 105.168, including, without limitation, filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfere with such tenant’s right to possession of the leased premises.

    b. The term “nonpayment” as used in paragraph 2 of this Executive Order means nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee, as described in the lease or in ORS 91.090, 91.210 or 91.220. All other terms used in paragraph 2 of this Executive Order shall have the same meanings as set forth in ORS chapters 91 or 105.

    c. Paragraph 2 of this Executive Order shall apply if a tenant provides the landlord, within 30 calendar days of unpaid rent being due, with documentation or other evidence that nonpayment is caused by, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Acceptable documentation or other evidence includes, without limitation, proof of loss of income due to any governmental restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    d. * * *

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  • Friday, April 03, 2020 2:22 PM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    Governor Brown’s most recent executive order effective April 1st, expands the moratorium on residential and non-residential evictions for non-payment of rent. The previous executive order only prohibited law enforcement from serving or doing anything to enforce a FED judgment for non-payment. We originally thought that the Governor’s executive order would include a requirement for tenants to provide objective verification that their loss of income or inability to pay rent was directly tied to Covid-19, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

    This new order extends to the landlords themselves, prohibiting landlords from terminating residential and non-residential rental agreements for non-payment (read that “giving a termination notice for non-payment”), filing evictions, doing a commercial ‘self-help’ lock-out, or taking any further steps to terminate or dispossess a residential or commercial tenancy or otherwise proceed in an eviction for non-payment. Be aware that Governor Brown’s executive order also creates a penalty - a landlord violating the emergency order could be found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1250, or both. Again, this restriction and penalty applies to only non-payment situations. Landlords with federally-backed financing should also be wary of losing their qualification for a loan payment deferral that occurs if the landlord evicts tenants during the Coronavirus emergency.

    Governor Brown’s revised order expressly confirms that tenants still owe all of their contractual obligations, excepting post-order late fees (which are now waived). Landlords serving other types of termination notices are allowed to issue those notices and file those evictions (at least for now), just be aware that all first appearances will be reset to a date after June 1st for all evictions except those based on 24-hour notices or domestic violence. Evictions based on 24-hour notices or involving domestic violence will be allowed to proceed on a limited basis, subject to procedures to be developed by each Circuit court for expediting and hearing those cases. Landlords with federally-backed financing should be wary of losing their qualification for payment deferral that occurs if the landlord evicts tenants during the Coronavirus emergency.

    Comment/Reply from Brian Cox, Attorney at Law

    While this revised emergency order creates a problematic situation for many of us - especially for rental owners with mortgages or in the midst of large maintenance projects - the issues around Coronavirus continue to evolve, and resources and proposals aimed at mitigating the financial damage to landlords and tenants are very much part of that conversation. Landlords with tenants receiving housing assistance, veteran’s benefits, disability benefits or similar payments should expect to see those payments continue without interruption. Meanwhile, Oregon courts are actively working on changes to allow the state courts to implement modified procedures in order to resume and sustain as many operations as possible. Lane County ROA Board member Brian Cox is on the workgroup developing and recommending state court changes, so we can all look forward to future timely updates as changes occur. We hope that the efforts of our state and federal government will produce workable results.

    This information and order will likely be modified as solutions emerge, so everyone should fairly expect restrictions and delays to extend beyond June first. Stay tuned for more.

  • Saturday, March 21, 2020 10:27 AM | Maria Menguita (Administrator)

    Dear ORHA members,

    There is an emergency committee that has been formed to address the impacts of Covid-19 on the rental housing industry. They are receiving comments until 5 p.m. Monday, March 23rd. We are urging you to send your comments to the committee at jscvr.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov no later than Monday. This is our opportunity to influence the discussion about solutions that will benefit tenants and us, the people who house them.

    Below you will find the letter sent by ORHA leadership regarding our concerns. There may be other concerns we have not addressed or thought of, please feel free to mirror our concerns or combine them with your own, in a respectful, constructive way.

    The ORHA Board of Directors

    To our valued members around the state,

    We have reached a moment in the Covid-19 crisis, where your voices need to be heard regarding the plans for keeping people housed. To that end, we have created a list of talking points that you can use when providing encouragement to your local, county and state officials as they grapple with this unprecedented situation. We support direct rent assistance payments to landlords for the following reasons:

    •        Disaster relief needs to be for both tenants and landlords to ensure that renters retain their housing and landlords can continue to operate. Direct payments to landlords will keep the supply chain functioning, including mortgages, insurance, maintenance, etc. This isn’t just about making sure that landlords get their money. Housing stability for our communities should be front and center during this crisis.
    •        A moratorium on mortgage payments provides some relief, but it doesn’t provide income. Some landlords depend on their tenants’ rent payments for their main source of income for food, medicine and utilities; we don’t want to create a new category of people who need help.
    •        Rental properties require maintenance. If landlords don’t have the money to pay for needed maintenance due to the crisis, they may face punitive damage awards for failure to maintain the unit.
    •        As our government officials pour money into the economy to mitigate the short- and long-term impacts of this crisis, part of what needs to happen is for people to keep buying goods and services to lubricate the economy and minimize the damage we are facing. Direct payments to landlords for the tenants who need help will be a vital way to infuse funds in to the local economies.
    •       Not all tenants need help. While many have been temporarily suspended from working, many are working from home, or have resources available to help them weather the storm. There needs to be some sort of needs test to determine whether the inability to pay rent is related to Covid-19 or not. Tenants should have to provide some sort of documentation from their employer that there is no work available, and that unemployment benefits for the household do not meet their needs for food, shelter and utilities. Gathering this data could also provide much needed information to the state regarding impacted communities. This could help inform future planning for unexpected crises that will undoubtedly come our way.
    •       Other pressing issues for some landlords are current pending notices for bad behavior by tenants, or termination notices issued prior to this time. Can these evictions still be processed and executed, or do landlords have to sit tight while the tenant continues to damage the property, disturb the quiet enjoyment of the neighbors, and even commit criminal acts while being protected from eviction? Also, under current law, once a notice of termination has expired, if the landlord accepts rent for any period beyond the termination date, they waive their right to terminate on that notice. With the implementation of SB 608 and the subsequent restrictions on termination of tenancy after the first year, a landlord could get into a real bind. Can waiver rules be temporarily suspended due to this crisis allowing landlords to accept rent, but still keep their notice valid?

    These and other issues will deeply impact housing providers throughout the state and our nation, leading to possibly devastating impacts to rental owners and the people we house. We urge you to consider the unintended consequences of your decisions now and in the coming days and find a middle ground that takes these concerns into account.


    Sage Coleman, ORHA President

    Jim Straub, ORHA Legislative Director

    ORHA Board of Directors

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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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