House Bill 2001 is likely to bring a number of changes for landlords in Oregon who will need to adjust course in their business practices yet again.
By Bradley S. Kraus
Attorney at Law
Partner, Warren Allen, LLP
As we roll into March of 2023, the Oregon legislative session is back in full swing.
As things stand, the legislature is poised to enact a large swath of changes to the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and the eviction statutes which can be found in ORS Chapter 105. These changes are currently taking form in House Bill 2001 which, as of this writing, is not in final form and not currently signed into law. However, given the political breakdown of the legislature, much of the changes currently on paper will pass, meaning landlords will need to adjust course in their business practices yet again.
House Bill 2001 will likely bring a variety of requirements landlords are already used to, having dealt with them during the post-COVID moratorium.
House Bill 2001 brings back—and makes permanent—the requirement of a 10-Day Notice, meaning 72-Hour Notices will be a relic of the past. Keeping with the theme of Notices, HB 2001 will also bring back “disclosure” requirement for both Notices and Summons. While the exact language of that “disclosure” is not 100 percent finalized, it will be soon and available on the Judicial Department website.
Due to the above, it is imperative that landlords update their forms after the law becomes effective. The costs for failing to do so will mean defective notices, lost time, and because of that, more lost rent. House Bill 2001 requires a court to dismiss a landlord’s case if the Notice fails to comply with the above requirements, so landlords should locate updated forms as quick as they can once these matters are set in stone.
House Bill 2001 also brings further extensions and unnecessary lag time to the eviction process. Currently, courts can set first appearances “seven days after the judicial day next following payment of the filing fee” for the case, with trials set no later than 15 days from the first appearance. With the changes to the law, the first appearance for non-payment will be no earlier than 15 days with the trial scheduled no earlier than 15 days after that date. This means a non-payment trial, should one be on the horizon, will not occur until at least 30 days after filing. This unfortunately means more lost rents landlords will need to chase tenants for in a separate action, as landlords are unable to procure money judgments in eviction actions.
Another change which appears to be on the horizon—and which landlords will remember from COVID times—is the requirement to “reasonably participate with rental assistance programs.”
In the event a landlord fails to do so, the court would be required under HB 2001 to dismiss the landlord’s non-payment case. House Bill 2001 unfortunately also brings back the ability of tenants to tender the payment due and owing in the notice at any time prior to trial, which will require a dismissal of the action. While tenants can engage in that ability under the current law, doing so currently requires a good-faith counterclaim and a payment of those monies into court. Now, it appears that a 10-Day Notice really is not really even a 10-Day Notice at all, and landlords will be forced to continue tenancies for those who perpetually pay late, as no exemption exists as to this language in the bill’s current form.
While this article cannot touch on the entire minutia of House Bill 2001, one thing is clear; changes are coming, and those changes will require adjustments to your forms and expectations.
Non-payment of rent cases will change significantly. Landlords are encouraged to seek guidance when filing eviction actions, as these changes are designed to be landmines that can—and will—torpedo many landlord’s rightful claim for possession based solely on these new technicalities.
About the author:
Bradley S. Kraus is an attorney at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is landlord/tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 503-255-8795.