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Governor Brown Issues Temporary Moratorium to Stop Residential Evictions During COVID-19 Crisis

By April 4, 2020Uncategorized

Effective April 1, 2020, and remaining in effect for 90 days, unless extended or terminated earlier by Governor Brown, there exists a temporary moratorium on terminations of residential rental agreements and evictions on the basis of nonpayment. The moratorium extends to and nonresidential (commercial) leases, as well, as discussed below.

During this moratorium, landlords of residential and commercial properties in Oregon may not, for reason of nonpayment, terminate any rental agreement or lease; take any action, judicial or otherwise, relating to evictions including filing, serving, delivering or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination or the equivalent; or otherwise interfere in any way with a residential or commercial tenant’s right to possession of the dwelling unit or leased premises. The term “nonpayment” includes any nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges, or any other service charge or fee.

This Executive Order does not permanently relieve a residential or commercial tenant’s obligation to pay rent, utility charges, or any other service charges or fees. The exception is late charges or other penalties arising from nonpayment, which are specifically waived during this moratorium.

During the moratorium, any residential or commercial tenant who is or will be unable to pay the full rent when due under a rental agreement or lease, must notify the landlord as soon as reasonably possible. The tenant must make partial rent payments to the extent the tenant is financially able to do so.

Note that a commercial tenant must provide to the landlord, within 30 calendar days of unpaid rent being due, with documentation or other evidence that nonpayment is caused by, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, the COVID-19 pandemic. Acceptable documentation or other evidence includes, without limitation, proof of loss of income due to any governmental restrictions imposed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Documentation might include a commercial tenant’s internal financial statement.

Commercial landlords might consider negotiating a partial lease payment based on the revenue shortfall documented for the month just ended. Negotiations may, but need not, include terms of repayment of rent deferred pursuant to the moratorium order. Finally, any party to a commercial lease should contact his or her insurance broker to inquire whether an existing policy might have lost-rental or business interruption coverage.

If you have questions about this information, please contact one of the Hutchinson Cox business law attorneys at www.eugenelaw.com.

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