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State and Federal Eviction Bans Explained by Oregon Law Center Attorney

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Those who have faced financial hardships due to the pandemic, may be concerned about being evicted. But Oregon renters cannot legally face eviction for at least another month.

Attorney Elliott Farren with the Oregon Law Center said if someone can afford to pay their rent, they should pay. But if someone is unable to pay right now, they should not feel pressured to leave their homes.

“We're really afraid about people thinking they have to leave in order to avoid getting an eviction on their record because they can't pay, or cause they're afraid the sheriff is going to come, or cause they’re afraid their landlord is gonna throw them out,” said Farren.

Farren said there are three overlapping protections that cover renters from evictions through June 30.

“There's an executive order which basically says that landlords can't serve or act on evictions for nonpayment of rent or for no cause,” said Farren. “It means that if you can't pay your rent and you don't pay your rent, your landlord can't evict you based on that. And it's actually a misdemeanor for your landlord to give you an eviction notice in that period.”

Farren said landlords cannot evict someone for not paying late fees, rent, or utilities. And with court eviction proceedings paused until June 1, a landlord cannot sue for nonpayment for at least another month.

“Your landlord can never throw you out on the street with full force themselves,” said Farren. “They have to have the sheriff do it, and the sheriff won't do it without a court order. And they can't get a court order until the courts open, and they can't do it for nonpayment until after June 30th.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act also has a protection for people in federally subsidized housing, which lasts through July 25.

“That could be Section 8 housing or low income tax credit housing,” said Farren. “Basically, any housing where you have to recertify annually or housing that has a federally backed mortgage on it.”

But Farren said the orders suggest renters pay a portion of their rent if possible, because the money will be due when the eviction orders end.

“Through the June 30th period, late fees are waived if you're unable to pay your rent,” said Farren. “Your obligation to pay rent does not go away. So if you don't pay rent during that period, it's still due at the end of June 30th. And people should try to make arrangements with their landlords if they can to amortize that when they get their income back, if they've lost income because of COVID.”

The Oregon Law Center and Legal Aid Services of Oregon has also provided videos about tenant protections in Oregon during COVID-19, with versions in English and Spanish.

For more information about renter’s legal rights, you can visit the Oregon Law Center and Legal Aid Services of Oregon websites.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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