Legislation extending eviction moratoriums awaits vote in Oregon Legislature
Pending legislation would end Oregon's temporary pandemic-related halt to residential and commercial evictions on Sept. 30.
A joint legislative committee cleared the way Thursday night for votes of the House and Senate. House Bill 4213 also gives tenants six months from then, until spring 2021, to pay any rent owed to landlords during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill would replace Gov. Kate Brown's April 1 executive order that put a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions regardless of cause. That order ends June 30.
Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said the final product was the result of backstage negotiations that included a member of Brown's staff.
"The governor has no intention of coming in on top of this with any kind of emergency order," Burdick said. "I think this is a good balancing of the very real need of tenants. Many of them have had delayed receipt of their unemployment benefits, which has caused some terrible situations."
The bill does continue the moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent through Sept. 30. After then, it sets a grace period through March 31, 2021, for tenants to pay any rent owed. If there are partial payments, the money is applied to current rent first.
Tenants must inform landlords within two weeks whether they intend to use the grace period; if they do not, they can be charged a penalty equal to a half-month's rent. But landlords cannot charge late fees for back rent payments, and the back rent also cannot be reported to credit-rating agencies.
The bill does contain an exemption, sought by the Oregon Association of Realtors, for purchasers of homes intended to be their primary residences but were still occupied by rent-paying tenants when Brown issued her April 1 order and froze things.
The bill extends the statute of limitations for landlord-tenant claims that also were frozen by Brown's order.
Three of the joint committee's 14 members voted no: Sens. Fred Girod of Lyons and Kim Thatcher of Keizer, and Rep. Duane Stark of Grants Pass, all Republicans.
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