Phil Querin: Oregon House Bill 4213 (Special Session, June 26, 2020) - Three Temporary Forms to Use During Crisis

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Effective June 26, 2020, during its Special Session, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 4213 (the “Bill”). The purpose of the Bill was largely to extend, and expand upon, the Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency issued on March 8, 2020.

 

MHCO has developed three forms that arise from the Bill;

  • Landlord’s Informational Form 101;
  • Landlord’s Informational Form 102; and 
  • Tenant’s Notice to Pay Form 103.

 

In order to use these forms, it is important to understand the basic format of the Bill, which designates how rents and the nonpayment of rent, are to be handled during certain periods of time.

 

Emergency Period. This is the period between April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. During the Emergency Period, landlords are severely restricted from taking certain actions vis a vis tenants regarding payment of rent.  They may not, and may not threaten to:

    • Deliver a termination notice based on a tenant’s nonpayment of rent; 
    • Initiate or continue an eviction action based on a termination notice for nonpayment of rent delivered on or after April 1,2020;
    • Take any  action that would interfere with a tenant’s possession or use of their space based on a tenant’s nonpayment of rent; 
    • Assess a late fee or any other penalty on a tenant’s nonpayment; or 
    • Report a tenant’ rent delinquent to any consumer credit reporting agency.
    • During this time MHCO landlords may send Informational Form #1.

 

Application of Tenant Rent Payments During Emergency Period. Perhaps the most critical thing for landlords to know is that rents existing and/or received during the Emergency Period must be handled in a completely different way than before. 

 

Notwithstanding ORS90.220(9) (order in which landlord is to apply tenant’s rent payments),before landlords can apply tenant rent payments to any prior unpaid balance, all rents received during the Emergency Period must be applied in the following order:

    • Rent for the current rental period;
    • Utility or service charges;
    • Late rent payment charges;and 
    • Fees or charges owed by the  tenant under ORS90.302 (Fees allowed for certain landlord expenses) or other fees or charges related to damage claims or other claims against the tenant.

 

This means that if there are unpaid rents existing and/or arising during the Emergency Period, all rent payments made by or on behalf of the tenant received between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2000, must be applied to current rent (including the above-enumerated charges and fees) before they can be applied to arrearages.

 

Cure Period Following Expiration of Emergency Period This is the 6-month period after the end of the Emergency Period on September 30, 2020 to March 31, 2021.  During this Cure Period, a tenant with outstanding unpaid rent that existed and/or arose during the Emergency Period, has six months to repay it.

 

It is during this time that MHCO Informational Form #2 may be sent to the tenant.  They are informed that they have 14 days to notify landlord whether they will pay the arrearages within that 14 days, or whether they will do so by the end of the Grace Period on March 31, 2021.

 

MHCO’s last form is the Tenant’s Notice to Pay Form, which should be sent to the tenant along with Informational Form #2. This Notice to Pay Form is for the tenant to complete and return to the landlord, informing them which option they select. 

 

The Bill also permits landlords to propose an alternative payment schedule, which is optional for tenants to select.

 

Rental Payments Arising During the Cure Period and Thereafter.  The Bill does not affect landlords’ rights to issue notices for nonpayment, or to commence evictions, for unpaid rents arising after the Emergency Period. It only deals with treatment of the rental arrearages existing and/or arising during the Emergency Period.  

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