Friday afternoon I received an email from my property manager informing me of a surprise legislative hearing about allowing tenants to not pay rent until July 1, 2021 if they have a “hardship”. Here is the letter from Metrofamily NW, which includes a form letter drafted by Metrofamily NW to send to legislators (feel free to cut and paste and send):
“Dear Multifamily NW Member,
At 10:00 am on Monday, November 23rd, the House Interim Committee on Housing has an informational hearing to review Speaker Kotek’s housing assistance proposal which aims to extend the eviction moratorium and change several aspects of Oregon Landlord Tenant law.
This proposal was drawn up by a small group of individuals and advocates, with limited input from housing
providers. No public testimony will be accepted at this meeting, which is why we need your voices to be heard by emailing your legislators and leadership of the House Interim Committee on Housing.
We are urgently asking you to send an email to your legislators [https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/ findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html] as well as, Chair Fahey, Vice-Chairs Rep. Meek and Rep. Zika, no later than Monday, November 23rd, at 8am.
Please copy and paste the following text and send to:
Rep.JulieFahey@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep.MarkMeek@oregonlegislature.gov, Rep.JackZika@oregonlegislature.gov, & [your Senator and Representative].
On Monday, November 23rd, the House Interim Committee on Housing has an informational hearing to review Speaker Kotek’s housing assistance proposal. The proposal contains many components that will be harmful to the housing industry, and fails to guarantee adequate rental assistance. Please consider the following points:
- Without adequate emergency rental assistance, this proposal simply pushes the problem out another six months and deepens the financial stress for both tenants and housing providers.
- The proposal provides that a tenant can decline to pay rent until July 1, 2021 by merely signing an “attestation” of hardship. The proposal continues to permit deferral of rent for virtually any reason, even if it is not causally related to the COVID-19 Pandemic or the Governor’s executive orders. There is no due process or legal mechanism to evaluate the validity of attestations.
- The proposal re-writes other sections of the landlord/tenant law unrelated to the pandemic. Any proposal to resolve the moratorium should focus on pandemic specific issues, not unrelated agenda items.
- The proposal includes wildfire related issues which are being addressed by FEMA. Those displaced by wildfire should receive support but should not be addressed in this proposal.
- Oregon anticipated the need to utilize private property under a state of emergency when it passed ORS 401.192 (3). That law includes protections and reasonable compensation if real or personal property was utilized for emergency actions by the State. HB 4213 and this proposal sidestep existing law, putting the burden of the moratorium squarely on housing providers.
We encourage you to direct funding towards the emergency rental assistance system and target those households at risk of eviction.