By Bradley S. Kraus
Partner, Warren Allen LLP
As the calendar turned to October, another important date has come and gone. I have previously covered Senate Bill 891 in depth, and readers may recall that October 1, 2022 was built into SB 891 as the sunset date for many of the bill’s provisions and changes to the Oregon Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. While a few provisions remain related to screening from the former law, SB 891’s departure brings back many of the normal rules and procedures landlords were familiar with prior to the COVID-19 restrictions frequently covered in this article series.
One of the largest changes landlords should be aware of is with respect to non-payment notices and timelines. COVID-19 saw changes to ORS 90.394, requiring non-payment notices to be 10 days long (along with the requirement of additional disclosures in the notice). Those changes have now sunset, and landlords can return to providing only 72 hours’ notice for their non-payment-of-rent notices. As a reminder, non-payment notices can only include full units of rent (partial payments are problematic) and may only be served on or after the eighth day of the rental period.
SB 891 disclosures
Landlords also no longer need to provide the SB 891 disclosures to which they have grown accustomed.
However, landlords should also be aware of, and take stock of, any prior evictions they have/had pending, and how they should proceed with them. As a reminder, many cases from months prior were set over until October if/when the tenant provided documentation that they had applied for rent assistance. Many landlords received that rent assistance, but any evictions related to those cases did not simply go away. In other words, they still must be disposed of through paper filings, or they remain on the court docket. If landlords had eviction cases in which they received rent assistance covering the amount stated in the notice, it is imperative that they dismiss that case as SB 891 previously required.
Many landlords have current cases in which they are either (a) still waiting on rent assistance and (b) have a case setover that is currently on the docket. Those landlords may proceed with their case when that date arrives as normal. While tenants may still apply for rent assistance, landlords are no longer required to pause and/or delay their non-payment eviction matters (in fact, they haven’t been required to do so after June 30).
Finally, landlords should be aware of the court docket situation in larger counties, and what they may mean going forward in the coming months. Many counties have dockets that are packed with setovers related to SB 891. As the court has only so much docket space to set cases, any eviction filings that occur within October could be delayed. This will result in first appearance dates that are more removed from the filing date. While unfortunate, it is a practical reality of what SB 891 required in months past. Going forward, as more cases resolve, those delays will subside, and landlord/tenant law will return to what it was pre-COVID (or as I call it, “in the before time . . . in the long, long ago”).
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.
Bradley Kraus, Portland attorney