Phil Querin Q&A: (Revised on 4-8-2020) 2 Questions on Non Payment/Evictions When Not Impacted By Covid-19

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COVID Questions 

(Corrected)

 

Question No. 1:.  If the resident hat has not been financially impacted by Covid-19 but is not paying rent what should we do?  Should we give a 72-hour notice, or should we wait?

 

Answer: First and foremost, remember that this situation is very fluid. Regulations can change overnight. This could affect the answers we give today. For example, CDC was previously saying face masks were not necessary, but recently reversed itself to recommend masks for use even where the person has no symptoms (“asymptomatic”) but “…is in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especiallyin areas of significant community-based transmissionsocial contact.” See, link, here. Likewise, various jurisdiction can implement regulations at almost any time.

 

Under the Governor’s Executive Order 20-13, issued April 1, 2020, there is a 90-day moratorium on virtually every part of an eviction, from issuance of the termination notice, to the filing of the eviction complaint, and execution of the FED judgment. 

 

Here is summary:

 

· Subject to the following, landlords of residential properties in Oregon shall not, for any reason, terminate a tenant's rental agreement. This includes filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent.

· Nor may landlords “…otherwise interfere in any way with such tenant's right to possession of the tenant's dwelling unit.”

·  This relates to:

    • Nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fees owed to the landlord; or 
    • Any termination without cause under ORS 90.427.

· The Executive Order does notrelieve a residential tenant's ultimate obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees; they still must be repaid.

· Late charges or other penalties due to the landlord arising from nonpayment are specifically waived during the Moratorium; i.e. repayment is notrequired after the Moratorium is over.

· The Executive Order also prohibits enforcing any existingnonpayment or no-cause eviction judgments.

· It does notapply to the termination of residential rental agreements for causes other thannonpayment of rent.

· It also prohibits law enforcement officers in Oregon from serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination of tenancy or the equivalent or any judicial action, arising under the Oregon eviction statutes that relate to residential evictions for nonpayment. 

  • During the Moratorium, any residential tenant who is or will be unable to pay the full rent when due under a rental agreement or lease, shall notify the landlord as soon as reasonably possible; and shall make partial rent payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.

 

 

See, Executive Order 20-13 here

 

The above discussion refers to statewide Executive Order 20-13, but with limited exceptions, likely applies equally to the City of Portland/Multnomah County which has its own set of rules.  I say “likely” because there is no final word on the issue, as it raises complicated state vs. local preemption issues. But the legal consensus is these prohibitions do apply to the City of Portland/Multnomah County. The only exception is (likely) that the 6-month repayment period still applies to deferred rent for the City of Portland/Multnomah County, but not the rest of the state.

 

Essentially, other than the power of persuasion, your options are limited in this case until the Moratorium is over.

 

Question No. 2: If the resident violates the rules, has unauthorized residents, disturbs the peaceful enjoyment of other residents - can we give an eviction notice, or should we wait?

 

Answer: Almost all hearings and trialshave been postponed indefinitely in Oregon  – not just FED hearings for nonpayment of rent. but for everything else, as well. 

 

I suggest you first speak with the resident and inform him/her that you can and will issue a 30-day termination notice, and file for eviction if the conduct does not cease. 

 

However, it may be that you will not be able to have a judge hear the matter. I suggest you check with your local county court to see if a hearing can be set, since this is a safety issue and one that needs to be addressed now. If not, at least if you should proceed with the 30-day notice and, if the conduct continues, file and serve the eviction complaint, so you will be at the front of the line when the courts do open.

 

Attached (above)  is a copy of a page from a March 27 Oregon Supreme Court Press Release on how the Oregon trial courts will be conducting business going forward.

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