By: Everett Meadows
On Monday, during a special session, Oregon legislators approved Senate Bill 891, which, amongst other things, extends the prohibitions on eviction for tenants who have applied for rental assistance. The bill was passed alongside Senate Bill 5561, which reallocates $215 million of the budget to direct rental assistance and rental assistance programs (which includes $10 million to the “Landlord Guarantee Fund.”)
The special session was called, in part, due to 1000s of unprocessed rental assistance applications, whose safe harbor periods have either passed, or will pass this winter.
Specifically, when a tenant notifies a landlord that tenant has applied for rental assistance, SB 891 does the following:
- Extends the general prohibition on evictions for non-payment (of rent, late charges, utilities, or service charges) for rental assistance applications made through June 30, 2022.
- Changes the specific prohibition, once a landlord receives notice, until the application is “no longer pending” (from 60 days, previously).
- Importantly, SB 891 revises the special notice language landlords are required to provide tenants when issuing a notice for non-payment.
Landlords need to understand the implications of SB 891 before taking any action to evict a non-paying tenant.
As always, we strongly recommend that landlords meet with an attorney prior to taking ANY action to evict a tenant (be that a simple “notice,” or the filing of an eviction lawsuit). With the passage of Senate Bill 608 in 2019, and the seemingly constant modifications to the rules as a response to the global pandemic, the complexity of Landlord-Tenant is ever increasing, with even experienced attorneys struggling to keep up. This passage of SB 891, signals that the Oregon legislature will continue to revise the requirements for landlords, and the protections for tenants. Landlords must understand the tenants’ rights, and be aware of the most current rules, or they risk significant penalties.