Evictions Return | The Source Weekly - Bend

Evictions Return

Landlords will be allowed to evict their tenants again starting in July, but several tools can help keep tenants in their homes

Oregon's eviction moratorium expires on June 30, a full month before the federal eviction moratorium ends. Oregonians are expected to pay their July rent in full or risk eviction, while they have until the end of February 2022, to repay any rent that they failed to pay between April 1, 2020 and June 30.

A 60-day moratorium extension will prevent evictions for people who can prove they have applied to receive some of the $204 million allocated to the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program, since the program has been slower to distribute funds than anticipated.

Evictions Return
Courtesy David Jackmanson
Eviction notices will be finding tenants once again after more than a year since the Oregon legislature placed a moratorium on evictions. The moratorium was put in place to avoid an eviction crisis after many lost their income during the pandemic, and to avoid spreading the virus.

"While historic rental assistance is flowing through our communities, the scale of need is unprecedented and community-based organizations face sizeable capacity challenges in keeping up with the surge of applications for relief," Margaret Salazar, executive director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, wrote to legislators. "There is a fundamental mismatch between the arbitrary date of July 1st and the ability to effectively promote rental assistance programs and process applications."

The OERAP is open to anyone who had lost income as a result of COVID-19 or used unemployment insurance, makes 80% of Area Median Income and demonstrates a risk for housing instability or houselessness. People can apply for rental assistance at oerap.oregon.gov, and can find useful information before applying at neighborimpact.org/covid-rent-relief. The fund will remain active until 2022 or until there is no more money.

"For the first time, renters can access rental assistance through a statewide, centralized application portal," Salazar said in a press release. "Together with our community-based partners, we are prioritizing resources toward our most vulnerable households to help keep Oregonians in their homes during these challenging times."

Landlords could also recoup lost rent through the Landlord Compensation Fund, that will pay them 80% of the backpay if the landlord forgives the other 20%.

The federal eviction moratorium is less comprehensive than Oregon's, Denis Theriault, spokesman for the Joint Office of Homeless Services, told Willamette Week. The federal moratorium requires tenants to write a declaration of financial hardship and deliver it to their landlord, and has seen different results in courts across the country.

It's not clear if the end of the moratorium will result in a massive uptick in evictions or if the extended grace period for repayment will encourage landlords not to evict their tenants.