If you’re an Oregon landlord facing financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new program could provide essential relief. The Oregon legislature recently kick-started a Landlord Compensation Fund to funnel state funds directly to struggling investment property owners. 

Oregon renters have missed hundreds of millions of dollars in rent payments in the past year. Some tenants are struggling to make ends meet in unprecedented economic conditions. At the same time landlords balance helping their tenants and abiding by government regulations with keeping their businesses afloat. The Landlord Compensation Fund program, administered by Oregon Housing and Community Services, is an excellent resource for Portland landlords coping with the pandemic. 

Round one of the Landlord Compensation Fund program closed at the end of March, but there will be another opportunity to apply when round two begins this April. If you’re wondering whether you should apply, are confused about the application process, or want more information on the fund in general, we’re here to help.

What is the Landlord Compensation Fund?

Initially, the government’s pandemic response focused on providing relief for tenants unable to make rent and in danger of eviction. Lawmakers passed legislation, such as the Oregon Eviction Moratorium, to keep renters from losing their homes amid a global health crisis. But as property managers face mounting losses during the pandemic, both landlords and their tenants are at risk. 

In response to this surging crisis, Oregon lawmakers passed HB 4401 to give landlords much-needed relief. This bill extended the eviction moratorium and created a pool of financial aid for landlords available until the moratorium expires on July 1st. HB 4401 allotted $150 million to the Landlord Compensation Fund, available to struggling landlords in priority of need. After a landlord applies for the fund, OHCS will evaluate each application and score it based on the percentage of delinquent rents and the number of units owned. 

Landlords who wish to receive this financial aid must make some sacrifices. The fund demands that landlords forgive 20% of unpaid rent accrued since April 1st, 2020, and agree to repay the program if tenants end up paying any portion of forgiven rent. It also prevents landlords from issuing a no-cause termination notice or a termination notice for nonpayment during the application period. The money granted by the Landlord Compensation Fund can cover 80% of owed back rent, not including utilities, repairs, and other fees.

Though the financial aid comes with strings attached, it can make a massive difference to many Portland landlords. Even if you missed round one, it’s not too late to apply. Round two of the Landlord Compensation Fund will begin this April. But don’t wait to apply because the process may be more complicated than you expect. 

“Do I Qualify for Aid Through the Landlord Compensation Fund?”

Many Portland landlords will qualify for aid through the Landlord Compensation Fund. The money is allocated based on need, so the more dire your financial straits, the better chance you’ll have of securing some help. The OHCS’s scoring criteria prioritizes small landlords who have received less than 50% of rent payments in the past year. Still, the criteria account for virtually every combination of units owned and rent owed.

However, landlords must complete a few steps before they’re ready to start the application process. The first thing to do is gather all the necessary materials you’ll need to complete your application. OHCS requires the following documents to apply for the Landlord Compensation Fund: 

  • Names and contact information for tenants who owe back rent.
  • A W-9 form verifying you own the property. 
  • The number of rental units you own.
  • The percent of the rent you’re owed since April 1st, 2020.
  • Rent rolls for amounts both collected and owed between April 1st, 2020, and the date you apply. 

Once you’ve collected these materials, you’re ready to submit your application. 

Round Two of the Landlord Compensation Fund Opens in April

Round two of the Landlord Compensation Fund program will open this month. This round will include an additional $50 million minimum in assistance to cover unpaid tenant rent. After reviewing your application and following up on any relevant details, OHCS will pass your portfolio on to your local Public Housing Authority for verification and direct payment. 

While the Landlord Compensation Fund has the potential to be a game-changer for Portland landlords, many landlords have run into trouble while trying to submit their applications. Luckily, OHCS reports that it has worked with its software provider to update its system and streamline the application process, so landlords applying for future rounds will hopefully have less trouble. The system updates included changing the process for uploading rent roll and financial hardship documentation to make it more straightforward. 

Get Help Finding the Financial Aid You Need

Juggling the barrage of recent changes to tenant law with the COVID-19 rental crisis is hard enough. For many landlords, the effort of finding and applying for financial aid is just one more straw on the camel’s back. Putting together applications is a time-consuming and confusing process that requires organized documentation from a hectic year. Our team at Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew has been working hard to monitor the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that none of our property managers miss out on available financial aid.

If you’re a landlord at the end of your rope, we would love to help make your life easier. We know the importance of staying on top of your rental property records and can provide all our clients with detailed documentation about their investment. If you’re struggling to fill vacancies with quality tenants, our team has years of experience marketing Portland properties and screening for the best renters. If you’d like to hear more about how we can help during these unprecedented times, Darla would love to chat. Call or text us at (503) 515-3170 or fill out our contact page any time. Let us help you make the most of your rental investment.