Many Portland landlords have been scrambling to form new business strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent changes to the federal eviction moratorium mean the legal landscape may be shifting yet again.
As of May 5, a federal judge ruled that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lacked the authority to impose a COVID-19 federal eviction moratorium. With the moratorium’s legality in question, landlords in areas without local restrictions may be able to evict tenants regardless of pandemic hardships. In coming weeks, there are a few things Portland landlords should keep in mind about how they handle evictions.
What is the CDC Eviction Moratorium?
The CDC announced on March 30 that it was extending the federal eviction moratorium until June 30, 2021. The extension gave renters more time to seek assistance, and square up rent left unpaid during the pandemic.
One thing to remember about the moratorium is that it only applies to “covered persons.” Your tenant qualifies as a covered person if they provide you with a written declaration showing that they have done their best to pay their rent promptly and made every effort to obtain rental assistance. The statement should also include that they earned less than $99,000 in 2020. Or that they expect to earn less than that in 2021, were not required to report any payment to the IRS in 2019, or received a stimulus check.
Lastly, the statement must include that their nonpayment results from a loss of income, work, or medical expenses. In addition, the statement must say that eviction would result in them becoming homeless or forced into shared living. For more detail about what information your tenants must provide, check out our original post on the CDC’s eviction moratorium.
If every tenant on the lease provides you with a signed declaration, they are a “covered person.” As a result, you cannot evict them for not paying rent. The moratorium applies explicitly to eviction due to nonpayment of rent. It doesn’t prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for breaching a lease contract.
Is The Federal Moratorium Still In Effect?
Currently, the CDC eviction moratorium is still in place. The Department of Justice immediately appealed the ruling, and therefore the eviction pause will remain active for now. The pending appeal will determine if the moratorium continues until the end of June or beyond. In the meantime, the fate of the federal eviction moratorium is still uncertain.
What Other Restrictions Exist In Portland?
New restrictions and regulations bombarded Portland landlords throughout the pandemic. Even if the federal eviction moratorium doesn’t survive, Portland landlords will likely continue to face local and state moratoriums. For instance, the Oregon legislature recently extended the state eviction moratorium until June 30. Oregon’s moratorium also requires a declaration of financial hardship. On top of that, legislators expanded the eviction ban in Multnomah County to July 2. Lawmakers included a six-month grace period for tenants to repay rent beginning at that point.
As the situation with the pandemic quickly changes, lawmakers are trying to keep up. These legal hurdles mean that landlords must pay attention to the current laws regarding property management in their area.
What Aid Is Available to Landlords Now?
Regardless of whether the CDC federal eviction moratorium survives the appeals court, recent legislation has finally directed financial help to America’s struggling landlords. For instance, Oregon’s HB 4401 established the Landlord Compensation Fund, which recently began its second round of applications. Oregon landlords can apply for financial aid from the $150 million pool the fund set aside. By forgiving 20 percent of their tenants’ unpaid rent, they will receive the other 80 percent from the Landlord Compensation Fund.
This is, admittedly, a compromise. For some landlords, accepting a 20 percent loss of revenue might be unacceptable. For others, the promise of receiving a large chunk of the rent they’re owed without having to wait for tenants to make their way through the labyrinthine process of acquiring government aid, that trade-off might be worthwhile. Landlords who own less than five properties are especially likely to qualify for this aid.
While getting a large chunk of rents owed can be a business-saving boon for many landlords, the program is not without its flaws. Many landlords faced serious technical difficulties during the first round of the program. It remains to be seen whether the current updates have smoothed them over entirely.
Property Managers Can Help
The ever-changing market that landlords face today creates problems many people in the industry could never have foreseen. Managing a property is a tough job under the best circumstances. Unfortunately, the pandemic has created a whole new slew of financial difficulties and logistical complications for Portland landlords. With new challenges at every turn, many Portland landlords are ready to seek out new avenues of making their property successful.
At Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, we’re sympathetic to the struggles of our local landlords. That’s why our team is staying on the cutting edge of what’s new in the Portland rental market, from upcoming legislation to popular trends in housing. We help guide our clients with the most up-to-date information. This ensures you can make the best decisions about your rental property with knowledge on your side. Our marketing team and maintenance partners work to ensure you won’t lose money to costly repairs or extended vacancies between tenants. We take all the stress out of property management so you can focus on enjoying the rewards. To hear more about our expertise in the Portland rental market, call or text Darla at (503) 515-3170 or fill out the contact form on our website.