An Oregon Senate bill seeks to require landlords to extend notice periods and restore the 60-day grace period for evictions for nonpayment of rent which were part of the pandemic protections.
The bill, SB 799, would postpone evictions for not paying rent for up to 60 days while tenants seek rental assistance, and it would require courts to set aside certain eviction judgments. Lawmakers will work to compromise on the bill, according to committee chair Sen. Kayse Jama, D-Portland.
“It’s my intention to make sure we have some sort of protection being passed this session for eviction prevention, but I also understand that this is a really complicated issue,” Jama told the Oregon Capital Chronicle.
The grace period of evictions was originally part of the pandemic protections passed by the legislature.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2022, landlords were able to resume giving tenants notices of either 72 hours or 144 hours to pay their overdue rent or move out – 72 hours when their rent is eight days overdue and 144 hours or six days when it is five days overdue. The bill would change those notice periods to 10 or 13 days.
More rules for landlords
Jason Miller, legislative director for the Oregon Rental Housing Association, told lawmakers that the eviction protections approved during the pandemic were never meant to be permanent.
“They were extreme measures taken during extreme times, where thousands of people were out of work for months because of government-mandated shutdowns,” Miller said.
He said that restoring the 60-day grace period would cause small landlords to sell their rental properties, and property managers of all sizes would increase rent, charge higher security deposits and have stricter criteria for rental applications to mitigate the risk of going months without rent payments.
Tenants who sign a lease know when rent is due
Dianne Cassidy, a Lake Oswego resident who owns apartments and opposes the bill, said renters should know as soon as they sign a lease when rent is due and that they need to pay it on time. Extending notice periods just means that landlords will be forced to pay the costs for housing people for free, she said according to the report in the Oregon Capital Chronicle.
Cassidy said three recent evictions cost her about $45,000: roughly $10,000 to repair damage in each unit and $15,000 in unpaid rent. That’s money she planned to use to save for retirement and to care for her son, who has disabilities, she said.
“Seventy-two-hour notice is simply the title of the notice,” Cassidy said. “Everybody who signs a lease knows from the day they sign it, what day the rent is due and how much is due. So when they come up short, they know in advance that something is going to happen.”