Update on the moratorium on the evacuation of residential buildings
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NOTE: On May 19, Governor Brown signed SB 282 into effect.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues and summer approaches, there is optimism that life may slowly return to normal – or at least to a new kind of normal. However, tenants who were unable to pay rent during last year’s global pandemic face serious concerns about paying overdue rents. This is a daunting prospect for individuals struggling to make ends meet, and there is a sizable population of Oregonians who are behind with their rent payments. According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 17% of Oregon renters surveyed in early March were not busy making rent payments.
In response to this worrying statistic, Oregon legislature passed HB 4401 in December 2020, which extends a pre-existing moratorium on non-payment of rent from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021 grants covering up to 80% of unpaid rents that are not moved in by qualified tenants after April 1, 2020. Participation in this program is optional, however, and while the exact details of participation rates are not public, there is no question that certain landlord landlords prefer to sue for unpaid rent rather than use the compensation fund.
On May 11, Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 282 to extend the grace period for repayment of rent accrued between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 to February 28, 2022 – it will be substantial for tenants Bring relief and can also encourage greater participation in the landlord compensation fund. SB 282 will, among other things, temporarily prevent landlords from enforcing rental restrictions and prevent landlords from reporting unpaid rents to credit bureaus.
At the federal level, important news came from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 5 when the court ruled that the Center for Disease Control’s September 4, 2020 moratorium on evictions was unconstitutional. The moratorium applied nationwide to residential property and was due to expire on June 30, 2021. Judge Friedrich wrote in her opinion that the CDC was able to “fight the spread of diseases through a series of measures … these measures clearly”. do not include the nationwide eviction moratorium set out in the CDC regulation. “The case was immediately challenged by the US Department of Justice and the verdict was suspended pending appeal. The impact of the appeal verdict could be material. If the district court’s decision is upheld, it may further Discourage efforts by Congress to protect tenants through moratoriums and other related measures.
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