The Oregon Senate has passed a bill now headed for the governor’s signature which provides 60-day eviction pause for those awaiting rental assistance, according to a release.
The bill is intended to also ensure landlords who are awaiting payment of past-due rent will receive it.
Earlier this session, the Senate passed a bill that extended the grace period for repayment of rent accrued during the eviction moratorium until February 28, 2022. Now, the recently passed Senate bill adding the eviction pause provision “furthers those protections by ensuring a tenant cannot be evicted within 60 days of filing for rental assistance. Additionally, the Landlord Compensation Fund will retroactively and prospectively reimburse successful applicants at an increased rate of 100 percent of unpaid rent accrued due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Senate said in a release.
Additionally, the first wave of federal emergency rental assistance was passed by Congress in December 2020. Following passage, the latest guidance on distribution of those funds was delayed until May 2021. Due to this, applicants have had limited time to access funds before the eviction moratorium closes
“While some feel as though life is getting back to normal, others are still struggling due to this wholly unequal recession. Lower-income and vulnerable Oregonians are taking much longer to recover,” said Senator Kayse Jama (D-East Portland) in the release. “The Legislature has worked incredibly hard to keep Oregonians housed throughout this crisis. It would be wrong to let a lapse in timelines cause Oregonians to face eviction or insurmountable debt.”
The eviction pause bill gives renters a 60-day pause on being evicted, as long as they can prove they’re one of more than 10,000 Oregonians waiting on rental assistance. While renters have until Feb. 28, 2022 to pay past-due rent from April 2020 through the end of June 2021, they’ll be required to start paying monthly rent in July.
The state is currently rushing to push out approximately $500 million in rental assistance and compensation for landlords. But technical glitches, an unprecedented number of applications for rent assistance, and staffing capacity within the Oregon Housing and Community Services department and its partner agencies, have caused significant delays, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
“Disparities that already existed were deepened by the pandemic. With Senate Bill 278 we have an opportunity to prevent further exacerbation of those disparities and increase opportunities for health and future success for Oregonians struggling to get by,” added Senator Jama. “When we end this session and spend more time with our communities, every legislator wants to see those communities benefiting from the work of the Legislature. Senate Bill 278 will do just that.”