During these unprecedented times, the Landlord Compensation Fund has provided help when the rental industry needs it most. Round Three of the Landlord Compensation Fund has already begun, kicking off another chance for Oregon landlords to secure financial aid. Though many landlords have some idea of what to expect when they apply, new changes to the program mean that even more landlords are now eligible to apply. At Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, we’ve been working with Portland landlords through the ups and downs of the pandemic to help our clients navigate these new challenges. If you’re a Portland landlord considering applying to Round Three of the Landlord Compensation Fund, here’s what you need to know.
The Landlord Compensation Fund So Far
Since its inception in December 2020 with Oregon House Bill 4401, the Landlord Compensation Fund has already helped many Oregon landlords looking for relief. Round one saw over 1,900 landlords owning 3,900 properties all secure financial aid. In total, the fund allowed landlords to forgive over $40 million of unpaid back rent from nearly 12,000 tenants. Though the exact numbers from round two are not yet available, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) has said that they have yet to exceed the available funding. Collectively, the Landlord Compensation Fund has earmarked $200 million for Oregon landlords and their tenants.
What’s New In Round Three?
The Landlord Compensation Fund has continued to change and adapt over the last six months. As the needs of the rental community become clear, OHCS has strived to keep pace. Here are a few changes to the program since the previous two rounds.
Add Former Tenants to Your Application
Landlords may apply for former tenants if those tenants provide an updated Declaration of Tenant Hardship form. This new development is welcome news to many landlords who have had tenants move out during the pandemic and were previously unable to include them on their applications. According to a recent survey of 38 landlords, 426 tenants from a total of 13,000 units owing roughly $1.1 million in unpaid rent had already moved out. Now those landlords have an opportunity to get compensated for that lost rent. While using the new form is preferred, you can still stick with the old form as long as your former tenants also provide their current address.
Pet and Garage Rent
The Landlord Compensation Fund now covers pet and garage rents when they are a part of the lease agreement for tenants who have been unable to pay their rent. Previously landlords were not allowed to include these types of rent. Deposits and separate lease agreements for pets and garages are still not applicable.
No More Score
Moving forward, the Landlord Compensation Fund may no longer appraise applications based on a score. Accepted applications will go out on a weekly rolling basis rather than the previous monthly cycle. The Fund will evaluate this system in mid-June, so further changes may be on the way.
Some Things Remain The Same
Though the Landlord Compensation Fund has seen changes in the past months, some things have remained the same. Landlords will still receive 80 percent of unpaid rents between April 2020 and the date of application in exchange for forgiving the final 20 percent of what their tenants owe.
You Can Turn Down Funding After You Apply
Some landlords might still balk at the thought of forgiving a fifth of unpaid rent. After all, small landlords especially can operate on thin margins, and the pandemic has put a financial crunch on us all. If you’re not sure whether you want to accept this aid, it may still be worth applying. You can decide not to receive the fund’s compensation right up until you sign the Housing Assistance Payment grant agreement. If you’re undecided about what option will work best for your business, you can always keep the door open by applying before you decide.
Oregon’s Rental Crisis Isn’t Over Yet
Throughout the pandemic, the outlook for renters and landlords alike has been grim. Financial and medical hardship has cut off many tenants from their income, which cuts landlords off from their rental income. According to the National Council of State Housing Finance Agencies’ report, Oregon renters have missed between $249 and $378 million in rent payments by January 2021. The total amount of missed rent is still unclear, and it may be impossible to nail a solid number down. Even with pandemic restrictions loosening, many renters are still struggling to make rent payments on time.
At the moment, tenants will have until July to repay the rents owed without penalties. If the governor passes SB 282, that window will extend to Feb. 28, 2022. This measure would provide relief for struggling tenants, and paired with the Landlord Compensation Fund directing aid to landlords, will hopefully allow Oregon’s rental community to weather this storm.
Get Help Managing Your Portland Rental
Are you trying to decide how to deal with rent unpaid during the pandemic? Managing a rental is a challenging business made even more complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be difficult to navigate ever-changing pandemic legislation and shifting market conditions in these strange and turbulent times.
We at Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew are here to help. We can take over budgeting your rental and creating new goals to improve your rental’s financial performance. Our marketing and maintenance teams keep your rental looking its best, both in person and on the web. We keep detailed records, which is even more critical when you need documents on hand to apply for government aid. It’s your property and your investment, and we’re proud to help you make the most of it. If you’d like more information on how the Landlord Compensation Fund may affect you or would like to hear about what Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew can offer your rental, call or text (503) 515-3170 any time or fill out the contact form on our website.