By Brian Cox, Attorney and Lane ROA Board Member
During a 2nd special session held December 13th, 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed an extension to the moratorium on evictions for non-payment for residents who have applied for emergency rental assistance. The housing policy bill, known as Senate Bill 891, was the reason the Governor called the special session. In this bill, residents that apply for rental assistance and provide documentation to their housing provider before June 30th, 2022, will have a safe harbor from eviction until September 30th, 2022, or until their application is cancelled or denied. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) will prioritize those that applied before December 1st, 2021, and cancel applications of residents that are not responding to their requests. OHCS is required to notify the housing provider of a resident is denied, or an application is cancelled. Additionally, in this bill is the extension of the requirement for a 10-day or 14-day Notice to Pay or Vacate for Non-payment of Rent until Sept 30th, 2022. Housing providers must send an updated version of the resident protection letter with these non-payment notices served after the date that SB 891 is signed into law by the Governor.
One ‘upside’ to SB 891 for housing providers it that it [helpfully] provides greater definition and a process for when and how an application for rental assistance is deemed ‘completed’ [meaning when it’s finished or you can take action]:
Sec. 7. In distributing emergency rental assistance to residential tenants funded by federal, state or local moneys[,]:
(1) The Housing and Community Services Department shall prioritize processing of eligible applications for tenants who have applied for rental assistance on or before December 1, 2021, before providing assistance to subsequent applicants.
(2) The Housing and Community Services Department, other public bodies and local governments, along with their subgrantees, shall:
(a) Promptly provide a dated application receipt to each tenant who applies for assistance. The receipt may be in an electronic format.
(b) Close an application, after notice to the tenant of potential closure, if the provider reasonably determines that the tenant is no longer participating.
(c) If, upon qualifying circumstance, an application is approved and payment is made to a person other than the tenant’s landlord, provide a dated notice of payment to the tenant’s landlord at any known address or electronic mail address.
(d) If an application is denied or is otherwise closed without payment, provide a dated notice of the denial or closure to the tenant and to the tenant’s landlord at any known address or electronic mail address.
SECTION 10. Section 9, chapter 420, Oregon Laws 2021, is amended to read:
Sec. 9. The Housing and Community Services Department shall provide a grant to a third party to make distributions to compensate landlords who, under section 2 [of this 2021 Act], chapter 420, Oregon Laws 2021, have delayed termination notices or eviction proceedings. A landlord may apply for compensation for nonpayment that accrued during the time period, as demonstrated by the landlord, beginning on the date that the tenant provided documentation to the landlord, and ending on the earliest of the following:
(1) October 1, 2022;
(2) The date the landlord receives possession of the premises from
(3) The date a court enters a judgment for possession of the
premises in favor of the landlord; or
(4) (a) Except as provided under paragraph (b) of this subsection,
the date a rental assistance provider makes a payment on,
denies or closes without payment a tenant’s application for
rental assistance; or
(b) If the date of payment, denial or closure was before the
effective date of this 2021 second special session Act, the
(A) The effective date of this 2021 second special session Act; or
(B) The latter of:
(i) The date 60 days after the tenant provided documentation
to the landlord; or
(ii) The date of expiration of any temporary moratoria
provided under any local law on the eviction of a
tenant for nonpayment of rent.
Language For Termination Notices
PLEASE ALSO KNOW THAT THE SERVICE OF THIS NOTICE DOES NOT AFFECT & IS NOT AFFECTED BY ANY OTHER NOTICE SERVED ON YOU OR GIVEN BY YOU
[this is not a required notice, simply a good practice to help avoid confusion/problems]
ORS90.291 Information To Veterans: If the recipient of this notice is a veteran of the armed forces, assistance may be available from a county veterans’ service
officer or community action agency. Contact information for a local county veterans’ service officer and community action agency may be obtained by calling a 2-1-1
information service. (this must be in ALL termination notices)
SB 278 & 282 & 891 Notice: THIS IS AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTSTO PROTECTION AGAINST EVICTION FOR NONPAYMENT THIS IS AN
IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTSTO PROTECTION AGAINST EVICTION FOR NON-PAYMENT. For information in Spanish, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese or Chinese, go to the Judicial Department website at www.courts.oregon.gov. If you have applied for emergency rental assistance, then you may be protected from eviction for
nonpayment of rent as long as your application is pending with the rental assistance provider. To qualify for this protection, no laterthan June 30, 2022, you must give
your landlord documentation of your rental assistance application at or before your first appearance in court. The protection from eviction for nonpayment of rent
applies until your application is no longer pending, but no later than September 30, 2022. Do not miss an eviction court date, even if you believe your eviction should not
be moving forward. Documentation of your application for rental assistance can be provided by any reasonable method, including by sending a copy or photograph of
the documentation to your landlord by electronic mail or text message. “Documentation” includes electronicmail, a screenshot or otherwritten or electronic
documentation verifying the submission of an application for emergency rentalassistance. To apply for rentalassistance before June 30, 2022, go to
www.oregonrentalassistance.org, dial 211 orgo to www.211info.org. To find free legal assistance for low-income Oregonians, go to www.oregonlawhelp.org
[this last senate bill section must be in all termination notices for non-paymentl.
By Brian Cox, Attorney and Lane ROA Board Member